Back in the 1990s, I recall reading Tom Clancy’s loving paean to the M1 Abrams, Armored Cav, in which he related that the unkillable tank had never been knocked out by hostile fire. The Abrams’ 120-mm cannon effortlessly peeled the turrets off of T-72 tanks in the Gulf War, while Russian anti-tank missiles and 125-mm shells couldn’t pierce the American tank’s Chobham armor. In fact, the Abram’s own gun reportedly struggled to penetrate the Abram’s depleted uranium armor.
Since then, the Abrams has been involved in a lot more war, and it has had to forsake its invincible reputation. During the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, several were knocked out by massive IEDs or RPGs in the vulnerable rear armor, others by advanced Russian-made anti-tank missiles such as the AT-14 Kornet. In the ongoing conflicts in Yemen and Iraq, dozens of Saudi and Iraqi Abrams have been taken out by such missiles.