The Tank

In the very early 1980s the Soviet Union designed and built T-72 tank was thought to be the supreme battle tank in the world. Its characteristics---such as speed, weight, range and capabilities such as main gun range, ammunition types and armor piercing ability (killing power) were largely unknown. The U.S. Army was very concerned about the threat this tank presented especially since the Soviets had thousands of these machines arrayed against NATO forces. 

Concurrently President Regan was making noise to Mr. Gorbachev about America’s Star War capabilities and the upgrade of the concept to full potential. Suddenly it dawned on the government, at the highest levels, that we did not have a Star War capability---it was largely hot air--- and if the Soviets believed we were moving in that direction, where they were defenseless, they might consider a sudden strike against NATO with mass T-72 tank attacks and possibly even the use of tactical nuclear weapons.


This idea of conventional war in Europe against the T-72 was very troublesome because we had not fully recovered from Vietnam and our R&D programs had not kept us current with the Soviet army and the equipment they were fielding. Some key officials were very concerned about our situation. 


The Request

I was working in the Pentagon at the time of this developing concern over the T-72 threat. My boss, the Chief of Intelligence for the US Army called me to his office early one morning and said to me--- 

“I will provide anyone you want or need so you can put a team together. I will provide you unlimited funds and your task is to quietly figure out a way to obtain a T-72 tank and deliver it to me.” 

That was a real bombshell and as I headed back to my desk I was thinking---maybe I can get one of these damn things at a Sears Department Store. 

I did form a team and I did spend some money and I tried a variety of methods but I was never able to deliver the tank. Eventually I was re-assigned to be the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Intelligence School and the tank burden was lifted from my shoulders. 

The Second Chance

Ultimately I retired from the Army and re-located to London to work for a gentleman there who was in the business of procuring material and equipment for the C.I.A. and the Department of Defense. After about five years on the job a request came to our office to obtain for the U.S. Government a T-72 tank. Of course, I was startled to see such a request and anxious to succeed after failing the first time. 

We worked the project for about a year looking for a way to get a tank, cajoling various owners of the tank to sell one to us, holding surreptitious meetings, keeping Washington officials informed and watching for the long arm of the K.G.B. Finally, under arduous circumstances, we got the job done delivering 12 tanks, with full loads of all types of ammunition, spare parts including operations and maintenance manuals. 

The process we went through was complex, dangerous and exciting. It involved East Germany, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, The U.K., Switzerland--shipping companies, banks, insurance companies and many well known, influential and important people. 

While the war in Europe never materialized and the U.S.S.R. came unglued, obtaining the 12 tanks was vital in the 1990 war “Desert Storm”---because Saddam Hussein’s army had several thousand of these behemoths--but since we had reversed engineered the T-72 we knew all there was to know about these tanks. 

We beefed up our own tank killing ability and the ground war lasted 100 hours because we knew exactly how to kill the famed T-72. This was a modern day intelligence coup. 

If you would like to read about the full story of the T-72 look for my book Plausible Denial to be published in the near future.


-1 #1 Theresa Chaze 2010-09-07 23:07
I would very much like to host you on my Internet radio show, Until You Walk the Path, You Don't Know Where it Goes. To see what I already accomplished, please go to my website at

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