The Fires of Babylon

Eagle Troop and the Battle of 73 Easting

Mike Guardia

As a new generation of main battle tanks came on line during the 1980s, neither the US nor USSR had the chance to pit them in combat. But once the Cold War between the superpowers waned, Iraq's Saddam Hussein provided that chance with his invasion of Kuwait. Finally the new US M1A1 tank would see how it fared against the vaunted Soviet-built T-72.
Date Published :
May 2015
Publisher :
Casemate
Language:
English
Illustration :
16pp photos
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Hardback
ISBN : 9781612002927
Pages : 248
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
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+
In stock
$32.95

Overview
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As a new generation of main battle tanks came on line during the 1980s, neither the US nor USSR had the chance to pit them in combat. But once the Cold War between the superpowers waned, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein provided that chance with his invasion of Kuwait. Finally the new US M1A1 tank would see how it fared against the vaunted Soviet-built T-72.

On the morning of August 2, 1990, Iraqi armored divisions invaded the tiny emirate of Kuwait. The Iraqi Army, after its long war with Iran, had more combat experience than the U.S. Army. Who knew if America’s untested forces could be shipped across the world and thence contest the battle-hardened Iraqis on their homeground? The Kuwaitis had collapsed easily enough, but the invasion drew fierce condemnation from the UN, which demanded Saddam’s withdrawal. Undeterred by the rhetoric, the Iraqi dictator massed his forces along the Saudi Arabian border and dared the world to stop him. In response, the U.S. led the world community in a coalition of 34 nations in what became known as Operation Desert Storm – a violent air and ground campaign to eject the Iraqis from Kuwait. Leading this charge into Iraq were the men of Eagle Troop in the US Army’s 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment.

Commanded by then-Captain HR McMaster, Eagle Troop was the lead element of the US VII Corps’ advance into Iraq. On February 26, 1991, Eagle Troop encountered the Tawakalna Brigade of Iraq’s elite Republican Guard. By any calculation, the 12 American tanks didn’t stand a chance. Yet within a mere 23 minutes, the M1A1 tanks of Eagle Troop destroyed more than 50 enemy vehicles and plowed a hole through the Iraqi front. History would call it the Battle of 73 Easting.

Based on hours of interviews and archival research by renowned author Mike Guardia, this minute-by-minute account of the U.S. breakthrough reveals an intimate, no-holds-barred account of modern warfare.

About The Author
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Mike Guardia is an internationally recognized author and military historian. A veteran of the United States Army, he served six years on active duty (2008-2014) as an Armor Officer. He is the author of the widely acclaimed Hal Moore: A Soldier Once…and Always, the first-ever biography chronicling the life of LTG Harold G. Moore, whose battlefield leadership was popularized by the film “We Were Soldiers,” starring Mel Gibson.He has twice been nominated for the Army Historical Foundation’s Distinguished Book Award and is an active member in the Military Writers Society of America.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
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FOREWORD by General Fred Franks, USA, Ret.
INTRODUCTION

1 From the Ashes of Vietnam: The Army of 1990
2 The Troopers
HR
Virrill
Gifford
Davis
Scouts Out!
Hamilton
Destefano
Foy
Hedenskog and Ohler
Lee and Rhodes
The Attitude Track
Moody
Tribble
3 “DEFORGER-90”
4 Life in the Desert
5 Into Iraq
6 Day of Battle
7 Cease-Fire

EPILOGUE: After the Storm
APPENDIX: Eagle Troop Battle Roster
BIBLIOGRAPHY

REVIEWS
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‘Guardia’s writing does justice to the exciting story … This is a no-holds-barred account, told as truthfully as possible. … Overall, it’s gripping stuff.’

- History of War

‘if you’re interested in modern armored warfare and tactics then this is well worth a read.’

- Soldier Magazine

"...a great book for those who are interested in modern tank combat, Operation Desert Storm and Army leadership when under fire...Highly Recommended

- AMPS

"Author Mike Guardia not only carefully researched the Battle of 73 Easting and Eagle Troop’s role in decisively defeating the Iraqi enemy, but also tells the story of the men of Eagle Troop and their cohesiveness as a unit which he ascribes to Capt. McMaster’s leadership and to the professionalism of the troop’s officers and NCOs....I recommend Fires of Babylon for the insight it gives into what it takes to build a well-trained and cohesive unit, and how important good leadership is to unit morale and, ultimately, performance."

- Society of 3rd Infantry Division, Watch on the Rhine

"...an engaging historical account of Eagle Troop, 2nd Squadron, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment’s push into Kuwait as part of Operation Desert Storm in February 1991. The author links together detailed accounts of Eagle Troop’s Battle of 73 Easting derived from personal interviews and memoirs of soldiers from Eagle Troop to give a minute-by-minute account of the battle. This book is not an argumentative piece, nor does it try to persuade the reader to view events under a particular lens; it is simply a description of events as told by the soldiers who lived through the United States’ first major tank battle since World War II. The author, Mike Guardia, is a veteran of the U.S. Army and served as an armor officer from 2008 to 2014...well written and informative given the first-hand accounts and level of detail derived only from extensive research and a willingness to provide accuracy in detail. I recommend this book to casual readers interested in personal accounts of the battle and to Army leaders interested in how this battle relates to the U.S. Army Operating Concept tenets and core competencies. "

- Military Review

"Fires is a day-by-day account of Eagle Troop’s breakthrough of the Iraqi lines. The 12 American tanks –which by any calculation didn’t stand a chance – destroyed more than 50 enemy vehicles within 23 minutes and plowed a hole through the Iraqi front. America’s armored force more than proved itself able to overcome the T-72. Guardia characterizes the Battle of 73 Easting as “the largest tank battle in American history and [it] has since been regarded as ‘the last great tank battle of the [20th Century...a solid contributor to the lore on Operation Desert Storm."

- Armor Magazine

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