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Battle of Medina Ridge
Part of the Persian Gulf War
Date February 27, 1991
Location Near Basra, Iraq
Result Decisive U.S. victory
Belligerents
 United States  Iraq
Commanders
United States Montgomery Meigs Iraq Saddam Hussein
Strength
2nd brigade of the 1st Armored Division 2nd Brigade of Medina Luminous Division
Casualties and losses
1 killed (friendly fire),
30 wounded,
4 tanks damaged
186 tanks destroyed,
127 AFVs destroyed

The Battle of Medina Ridge was a decisive tank battle fought on February 27, 1991, during the Gulf War, between the U.S. 1st Armored Division and the 2nd Brigade of the Iraqi Republican Guard Medina Luminous Division outside Basra. Medina Ridge is the name American troops gave to a low rise, approximately seven miles (11 km) long. The battle, which was waged over approximately two hours, was the largest tank battle of the war and the largest tank battle in United States history. It took place west of Phase Line Kiwi, east of Phase Line Smash, and north of Phase Line Grape. Phase lines are map references occurring every few kilometers used to measure progress of an offensive operation.

The 1st Armored Division, commanded by Major General Ron Griffith, consisted of some 3,000 vehicles including 166 M1A1 Abrams tanks. The brunt of the fighting at Medina Ridge was conducted by the Division's historic 2nd Brigade, known as the "Iron Brigade", commanded by Colonel Montgomery Meigs (a descendant of General Montgomery C. Meigs of Civil War fame).

Medina Ridge was one of the few battles during Desert Storm in which American forces encountered significant Iraqi resistance and found it extremely difficult to advance. The Iraqi forces were well-deployed such that they could not be seen by American forces advancing until after they had cleared the top of the ridgeline. This defilade position gave the Iraqis protection from the powerful long-range direct fire of the M1 Abrams tanks and the M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles. The American units found it necessary to engage an entrenched enemy at close range, which resulted in higher (albeit still low) damage to the American armored units.

During the battle, the American forces suffered only one fatality (due to friendly fire), while destroying 186 Iraqi tanks (mostly T-72s and old, outdated Type 69s) and 127 armored vehicles. Only four Abrams tanks were hit by direct fire and disabled: none were destroyed. Thirty-eight of the Iraqi tanks were eliminated by six U.S. AH-64 Apaches from 3 mi (5 km) away at night and in rain, and by U.S. Air Force A-10 Warthogs.

Although the Iraqis used a relatively successful defensive strategy by deploying their armor behind the ridge, this was not properly repeated through the rest of the war. In one incident, an Iraqi commander attempted to repeat what had been done at Medina but mistakenly deployed his armor too far from the ridgeline. This gave the American units the upper hand, as the Abrams tanks specialize in long-distance kills and their Chobham armor is extremely resistant to long-range fire.

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