Mosul: Iraq tanks crush suicide cars on bloody road

iraqi-tank-crewAn interesting article appeared yesterday in The Australian on the recent fighting in Mosul.  Titled “Iraq tanks crush suicide cars on bloody road”, the article tells the story of an Iraqi M1 Abrams tank battling Isis suicide bomb trucks.  The one odd part of the story is the bit about the gun “jamming.”  Any comment regarding this from current or former Abrams crew would be much appreciated.  The full article can be read here.

Article excerpt:

The Isis suicide bomber raced down a potholed road at the wheel of a home-made armoured car with bolted-on sheets of metal. Manoeuvring the main gun on a US-made M1 Abrams tank, Captain Mustafa Khaleel, a commander in the Iraqi army’s 9th Armoured Division, watched calmly as the vehicle flew towards him at full speed. Exhaling slowly, he aimed at his target and pulled the trigger.

Nothing happened. The gun had jammed. Stiff with panic, Khaleel, 29, watched as the car carried on towards him. The impact, when it came, threw him against the tank’s white-painted metal interior — the explosion so loud it deafened him.

After coming to, Khaleel looked through the sights again. The car was gone, crushed beneath the tracks of the tank, which itself was barely damaged. Climbing out of the hatch he saw burnt pieces of the Isis fighter’s body scattered around him on the road.

“We were scared for a second,” he grinned, leaning back in the commander’s seat. “But I’ve destroyed 200 of these suicide cars. They can’t touch us. In Mosul I’ll make it 300.”

The pride of the Iraqi army, the 9th Armoured Division, has played a vital role in the liberation of the cities of Tikrit, Ramadi and Falluja from Isis since early last year, smashing through the waves of suicide vehicles that protect the Islamists’ front lines.


  1. Murad ÖZER says:

    maybe the article ment the machine gun – not the other “gun” gun, i am not sure even the MGs could jam but simply guestimating, mainstream media is all the same probably everywhere around the globe…


  2. chrisbroz says:

    The main gun didn’t ‘jam’…it could have been an electrical malfunction at the worst possible time, though…I’m an old 11E – an M60 crewman – from the early 70s…all of our main gun rounds had electric primers and I personally had an experience with a round not firing when I pressed the trigger on the gunner’s handgrips…I tried using the red handled dynamo to my left, but again, nothing happened…we put up the yellow flag on the TC’s hatch and one of the ROs came over to investigate….evidently I didn’t put enough force into twisting the dynamo’s handle because he got the round to fire when he twisted that handle on his first try…this happened on the firing range during training at Ft Knox in September/October of ’71…never heard of that happening again though…this, mopst likely, isd what happened in Iraq, but the TC was prolly in a serious panic (although I don;t know if the M1 is equiped with such a backup, manual device…


  3. chrisbroz, the manual firing handle on the M1 is right above the gunner’s control handles:


  4. I trained on the Abrams before they sent me to scout leaders course. My guess is a few things could’ve happened here: when the loader loads the round and closes the breech an arming lever needs to be thrown “up” into position, which is generally then when the loader yells “up” to the crew, signaling that the round is loaded and the gun is armed. (The commander then orders the gunner to fire). In the heat of the moment the loader maya have failed to do that.

    Or there was an electrical short, a dirty tank and gun (if the Iraqis clean their Abrams like how I watched them clean the brand new M-16A4s they received from us – with a garden hose – then I could see this happening). The gunner probably was ill trained and had no idea how to use the master-blaster to crank a charge and fire the main gun.

    There was no round in the chamber. I would put that back to the ill-trained comment as maybe they thought they had one in the tube and didn’t. Only that crew really knows…

    Great article I love reading your pieces!


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