Scale Military Modelcraft International
Saddams Secret Tank Image Credit: Scale Military Modelcraft International
Saddams Secret Tank Image Credit: Scale Military Modelcraft International

Saddam's Secret Tank

Max Lemaire builds the mysterious Iraqi Enigma.

Max Lemaire

Enigma is the codename given by the Western powers to a T-55 version that was upgraded by the Iraqis to improve its ballistic protection. The particular name was given because little was known about the improvements apart from the fact that it was principally externally added armour that radically changed the outline of the tank. The composition of the armour was the subject of a lot guesswork. Were the blocks merely concrete? It was only during the first Gulf War that several Enigma were captured and revealed their secrets.

After the war with Iran the Iraqi army was considerably weakened, just like the economy. The war had burnt through the military equipment and Iraqi oil dollars. Combat experience had shown the vulnerability of the T-55 to the anti-tank weapons used by the enemy. The Iraqis were facing a serious problem. They had to make up for the losses and preferably with modern equipment that could stand up against the latest anti-tank weaponry, but there was little or no budget. It was decided to look into a number of modifications to bring the T-55 back up to standards.

The chosen solution resulted in the Enigma, which was nothing more than a makeshift solution, a DIY solution in the truest sense. Iraqi engineers elaborated an armour package protecting the frontal arc, the sides of the combat compartment and the turret ring with boxes of spaced armour intended to absorb the shockwaves of a direct hit. It seems only a limited number of tanks were conver


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