Gen. Richard Wilmot's Blog

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.