On Oct. 20, 2017, the Kurdish Peshmerga asserted to have ruined an Iraqi M-1A1 Abrams tank throughout fighting in Kirkuk district and take it grainy...

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On Oct. 20, 2017, the Kurdish Peshmerga claimed to have ruined an Iraqi M-1A1 Abrams tank throughout fighting in Kirkuk district and took grainy video footage come prove it. That was particularly noteworthy clash provided that west allies supplied countless of Iraqi Kurdistan’s anti-tank missiles and Iraq’s Abrams tanks.

The Iraqi military’s joint Operations Command accused the Peshmerga the targeting the tank through a wire-guided MILAN anti-tank missile launcher, i beg your pardon Germany offered by the dozens come the Peshmerga for use versus Islamic State’s up-armored suicide bomb vehicles.

Iraq’s Kurdish region possesses few tanks of its own — larger T-55s captured after the please of the Saddam routine in 2003, and no match for M-1s.

Knocking the end a U.S.-made Iraqi tank v a German anti-tank missile destined because that the war through ISIS comes v political sensitivities. The Peshmerga denied making use of MILANs in the clash, and the German Defense Ministry would certainly not confirm nor deny usage of the missiles against the Iraqi tank.


Germany has a contingent of armed forces advisers in the region training the Peshmerga, a mission i beg your pardon Berlin summary paused provided the row v Baghdad.

Iraqi forces and also the popular Mobilization pressures — pro-Baghdad paramilitary systems — swept right into the oil-rich Kirkuk region in October 2017 adhering to Kurdistan’s Sept. 25 independence referendum. Outmatched by the larger Iraqi army, the Peshmerga retreated, but not there is no punctuating its collapse in Kirkuk with exchanges of fire.


While the Iraqi government and the Peshmerga are at odds over the alleged usage of MILAN missiles, both sides acknowledged the clash, which took place in Altun Kupri — also known as Prde — in between the Kurdish capital of Erbil and Kirkuk city.

We don’t know just how the Peshmerga took out the Abrams, but the Kurdish military has tank-busting weapons various other than the MILAN. One possibility is the the Peshmerga supplied a Chinese-made HJ-8 “Red Arrow” anti-tank missile. HJ-8s have appeared with the Peshmerga since at least 2014, back it’s no clear from whom Iraqi Kurdistan received the weapons.

Sudan, Egypt, the united Arab Emirates and also Pakistan are among the 19 countries which own HJ-8s.

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An HJ-8 equipped to a Kurdish Humvee. Photo via Kurdish social media

Along with HJ-8s, the Peshmerga have actually been sighted with Chinese-made anti-materiel rifles and grenade launchers.

Qatar is strong suspected to have actually supplied Syrian rebel groups with these weapons after an initial buying them indigenous Sudan, and also the hardware could have ultimately worked its way to the Peshmerga via recorded Islamic State stockpiles, according to one theory from the weapons security group Armament research study Services.

Social media channels aligned through the Kurdish separatist cause posted photos and also videos showing tube-launched HJ-8s attached come Peshmerga Humvees. Interestingly, one recent video clip depicts Kurdish troops launching what looks like a vehicle-mounted HJ-8 throughout the clash in ~ Altun Kupri.

We don’t view the target. We do see the Erbil-Kirkuk checkpoint at Altun Kupri in the background.

These same networks claimed an HJ-8 is what without doubt took out the Abrams.

If so, it would certainly be a rare example of a Chinese-made missile ruining an American-made tank, indicating a vulnerability with the Abrams, as the M-1s provided to Iraq lack the high-tech active-protection equipment which are ending up being increasingly typical on modern tanks. The U.S. Military’s Abrams are only now beginning to get those defenses.

The wire-guided HJ-8 is an older missile an initial produced in China in the 1970s. That is around equivalent come the U.S.-made TOW missile.

If the Kurdish missile was an HJ-8E — a much more current variation seen in Syria — then it would have actually featured a 54-pound tandem-charge warhead qualified of traveling 4,000 meters, helped by a thermal imaging system had on the launcher. A tandem fee is a two-stage warhead that have the right to punch v a tank’s add-on explosive reactive armor tiles, return Iraq’s M-1 Abrams tanks additionally appear to lack this added defensive capability.

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Regardless, it’s unsure what exactly caused the loss of the Iraqi Abrams in ~ Altun Kupri. On Oct. 25, Rudaw — a news agency aligned v the Kurdistan autonomous Party — relayed an accusation native a Peshmerga commander the the Iraqi federal government removed the ruined tank to “hide the truth that they have used Abrams tank versus the Peshmerga.”

Helpfully and also for posterity, the write-up included one aerial picture of the burned-out armored beast attributed to the Kurdistan an ar Security Council. Take a look for yourself.