Iran-supplied T-72 tanks appearance at Battle of Tikrit

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Following rumors this week of “company-sized” Iranian tank contingent taking part in the Battle of Tikrit, a Reuters photograph published today has captured imagery of what is in all likelihood an IRGC-GF supplied T-72S.

The tank seen above is clearly distinguishable from Iraqi Army T-72M1 type MBTs by the fitments for Kontakt-1 ERA tiles (removed on this example), turret side-mounted smoke grenade canisters and IRGC-GF type camouflage pattern.

Commentary: IRGC-QF tactics developed in the Syrian theater of war make use of mixed armor and infantry in the assault role, so evidently Iranian military tacticians have seen the need in Iraq for application of armor providing direct fire support for Iran-led coalition forces.

If it is confirmed that Iraqi Shia militia forces– such as Kata’ib Hizbullah– are now operating Iranian-supplied T-72 main battle tanks, this implies Iranian training, and a significant increase in combat power for elements of Iran-led coalition forces waging war against ISIL and Al-Qaeda linked armed groups.

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