Marine tanks arrive in Afghanistan


The Marine Corps released photographs of M1A1 tanks at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, today. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Jennifer Brofer/Marine Corps)

Last month, the Marine Corps made national headlines while acknowledging that they were deploying a company of tanks to Afghanistan.

That report was no joke. The service has released photographs showing M1A1 tanks at Camp Leatherneck, along with a story by a combat correspondent that reports that five tanks are already in theater, with more to arrive soon.

Here’s video of the first tanks rolling off a C-17 transport plane at Camp Bastion, which abuts Leatherneck, last week.

[brightcove video=”694267805001″ /]

The only piece that is still interestingly absent: The Corps has not identified which company of Marines will deploy to operate the tanks.

For what it’s worth, a Marine offered the following commentary on the deployment of tanks on our message board:

… The big difference between one of our armed UAVs versus an M1A1 is the psychological impact the presence of a tank on the battlefield has on the enemy. Just placing a tank within view, even far off view, of the enemy has a non-kinetic effect on them.

Best case in point was up in Now Zad a year ago when 3/4 began to reclaim that ghost town from the Taliban. Tanks were brought over from another NATO force in addition to the Corps ABV’s and the impact they had on the enemy was immense. Even the media that was present wrote about the effect. Seeing 68 tons of a metallic monster that is armed to the teeth is a sure way to discourage the enemy from wanting to confront you head on.



About Author

I'm a senior writer with Marine Corps Times, covering ground warfare, manpower, weapons acquisition and other beats. I embedded in Afghanistan in spring 2010, and plan to return at least once in 2011.


  1. prouddadofUSmarine on

    A no-brainer. Scary and effective.
    Let’s see what those IED-happy cowards have to say now 🙂
    Take charge, Marines! Kick butt! OOH-RAH!

  2. Kick butt, sure, but where is the butt? Tanks are for fighting other tanks or taking out fortified positions. But you can’t use them for shooting at people; it is much too expensive!

    And those people can walk around the tank and blow up the fuel bowser instead, or disable the tank carrier. They can rig up a catapult and throw a sack of mud mixed with aluminium foil over 200 metres and blind the tank. Ask the tank folks who watched the Hungarian students disable Russian tanks on the hilly streets of Budapest by shoving wooden poles in the carrier wheels of the tracks, slapping mud balls over the sight slits and sitting on top banging the hatches with rocks.

    Great weapon; wrong war.

  3. USMCTankgunner on

    TO Grossman,
    The assumptions that you brought up are completly incorrect and ignorant, the whole blowing up the fuel bowser(by the way the fuel cell is located throughout the tank in the hull, not the rear, that is the where the engin is)? havent ever heard of a bowser and if it were possible tanks are heavily supported with infantry, they go every where togather as it is there purpose, and as far as the mud catapolts, that is nearly impossible, a tank can drive as long as one of the 4 crew members can see out of there parascopes which are located throughout the tank( a total of four different locations). Drivers are trained to drive in the blind using only the directions from there crew. Plus the pounding on the hatches is also impossible with the mounted that can be fired from inside.

    Great weapon;do your reaserch.

  4. prouddadofUSmarine on

    Uhm…good argument Grossman. But let’s see – so these guys are gonna rush up to a tank and try all this Hungarian student stunts in the middle of the vast open Afghan spaces, using mud and wooden poles lying around the desert? I dunno man – this may not work too well for them this time.

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