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Mystery Missile Solved

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Below and in the following pages is the official report on the August, 2003 incident in Iraq where the side armor of an American M-1 tank was penetrated by an RPG round. Two members of the crew suffered minor injuries and no serious damage was done to the tank. The weapon used was apparently a Russian RPG warhead specially designed to penetrate composite armor. In 1988 the Soviet Union weapons organization  "Bazalt" was the first in the world to develop a  antitank grenade launcher round capable of penetrating composite armor, as well as screened armor and explosive reactive armor. This was done with a tandem warhead for the RPG launchers. The new warhead, the PG-7VR, has been widely used, but until the recent incident in Iraq, was not known to have actually penetrated composite armor in combat.


The following information is provided concerning a Malfunction/Accident/Incident involving TACOM equipment:

a. Location of MAIR: Baghdad, Iraq

b. Date and Time of MAIR: 5:20 AM (before dawn), 28 August 2003.

c. Identification of Unit involved: 2/70 Armor Battalion, 1 AD

d. Injuries/Fatalities: The Tank Commander received minor shrapnel wounds to the legs and arms and the Gunner got some in his arm.

e. Identification of Weapon/Ammunition/Equipment/Vehicle (SN, bumper #, ammo lot #) Involved: M1A1 Tank, serial number L13170, bumper number B 24.

f. Property Damage: The #4 right-hand skirt (TM 9-2350-264- 24P-1 dated March 2003, Figure 274, Item 17, NSN 2510-01-166- 2049, p/n 12323656), the Hull, the NBC hose behind the Gunner’s Seat (TM 9-2350-264-23P-2, dated April 2003, Figure 225, Item 13, NSN 4720-01-320-5774, p/n 12324460-9), the back of the Gunner’s seat (Figure 137, Items 1 & 30, Frame NSN 2540-01-362-5768, p/n 12931155, Cushion NSN 2540-01-144-1458, p/n 12312153), the safety guard that stands upright on the loaders side of the slip ring cover (Figure 132, Item 28, NSN 1015-01-250-5976, p/n 9377649), and the TNB (Figure 139, Item 22, NSN 5975-01-316-9270, p/n 12549752) were all damaged. The skirt and hull can be repaired by the unit, the safety guard is still serviceable, and they can replace the others. The TNB is beyond repair because the housing is damaged.

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