A Clash of Armor


Desert Storm saw three firefights involving more than 3,000 armored fighting vehicles in a span of just 100 hours. That massive, intense, compressed event surpasses anything from World War II and there has never been anything remotely comparable since. (Yes, there were more tanks at Kursk, but the combat was spread over months. There was no single battle in the Kursk campaign that comes close.)

A couple of films have tried to convey the feel of what happened — the rapid decisions, heroism and mistakes. My favorite is probably “Courage Under Fire, ” the Meg Ryan and Denzel Washington flick from 1996. However, it’s difficult to convey the emotional intensity of night action in which it is impossible to identify friend and enemy and firing comes from all directions. The US and Japanese navies fought one such action off Guadalcanal in 1942. And then there’s this tank battle. It’s a…

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