I saw notice of a rabies vaccination clinic at the fairgrounds so I took Fermat the Wonder Cat over Saturday morning to be vaxxed. Since I’ve never been to the fairgrounds, I punched it in to my GPS and when I was almost there, I saw this and had to pull over:
What drew my attention was cavalry. They had a display of three tanks and a transporter that I had to stop and check out.
The Sherman tank was the workhorse of World War II because it was cheap to make a lot of them. The German tanks were more powerful, especially later in the war, but Shermans were reliable and plentiful.
Adrenaline! I love the name of this tank. The name immediately reminded me of Fury, the Easy 8 Sherman tank in the eponymous film (which you must see if you love tanks!) Adrenaline is a Howitzer. The M109 Howitzer series dates back to the early 1960s when it replaced the M108s that were being used in the Vietnam War. High-tech, modernized versions of the M109 are still in use today, in Iraq.
Then there was this transporter. I have no idea what it is. Other than a transporter. A spiffy cool transporter.
Finally, an M60 Patton, the main U.S. Cold War tank:
In the U.S., we have mainly replaced this tank with the M1 Abrams, but there are still lots of Pattons out there — over 1700 in the Egyptian military, 866 in Turkey and over 700 in Israel.
The Israelis particularly love the M60 for its firepower and maneuverability. It’s the tank that won the Yom Kippur War for them. At first, a lot of M60s were destroyed because they were using bad strategy, putting them in the Bar-Lev line right after the Egyptians crossed the canal. The M60 is not as effective in a fixed defense position like that and the Israeli army in general does not fight well from entrenchment, Masada notwithstanding.
Once the fighting moved away from Bar-Lev, the M60 was a machine to be feared. Replacements were airlifted in — enough to double the amount of M60s Israel started the war with, and with those 300 Patton tanks, Israel was able to charge to victory in a war that was contained entirely within one calendar month. (October 1973.)
The last major U.S. victory using the M60 Patton was in 1991. While the U.S. Army had already switched to the M1 Abrams, the Marine Corp continued to use the M60 all the way up to the Liberation of Kuwait at the end of February, 1991, in the Gulf War. In early February, the Marine’s 2nd Battalion drove from Saudi Arabia to Kuwait with 200 M60A1 Patton tanks.
The Marines reached Kuwait on February 24th and on the 27th, they were met at the Kuwait City International Airport by an Iraqi force with T-54/55, Type 69, and T-72 tanks. What ensued was the biggest tank battle the Marines had fought since World War II. In just a few hours of fighting, the U.S. Marines destroyed over 100 Iraqi tanks and only lost one of their M60s in the process.
The Iraqi military policy was “scorched earth” and they set hundreds of Kuwait oil wells on fire as they retreated, but they did cede their claim to Kuwait and left the territory entirely after the battle. While the Marines switched to the M1 shortly afterward, the Battle for the Kuwait Airport demonstrates the power of the M60 that makes it a favorite in many countries to this day.