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T-55 Enigma

Medium tank


The T-55 Enigma is an upgraded Iraqi version of the Soviet T-55 medium tank

Entered service 1980s
Crew 4 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 41 t
Length (gun forward) 9 m
Hull length 6 m
Width (with add-on armor skirts) ~ 3.7 m
Height 2.4 m
Main gun 100-mm rifled
Machine guns 1 x 12.7-mm, 2 x 7.62-mm
Elevation range - 6 to + 16 degrees
Traverse range 360 degrees
Ammunition load
Main gun 43 rounds
Machine guns 200 x 12.7-mm, 3 500 x 7.62-mm
Engine V-55 diesel
Engine power 520 hp
Maximum road speed ~ 45 km/h
Range ~ 300 km
Gradient 60%
Side slope 30%
Vertical step ~ 0.8 m
Trench ~ 2.5 m
Fording 1.4 m
Fording (with preparation) 5 m


   The T-55 Enigma is an upgraded Iraqi version of the Soviet T-55 medium tank. The "Enigma" is not an actual name, but the way this tank was called by the Coalition forces during the Gulf War in 1991. Official Iraqi designation of this tank is unknown.

   Iraq was a major operator of the Soviet T-54 and T-55 tanks. In 1958 Iraq ordered a first batch of 250 T-54 tanks from the former Soviet Union. Another order for 50 tanks followed in 1965. Many of Iraqi T-54 tanks were lost during Yom Kippur War, so another 300 T-55 tanks were ordered in 1973. In 1980 Iraq acquired 50 T-55 tanks from surplus stocks of East Germany and another 400 T-55 tanks from Poland. In 1981 a total of 250 T-55 tanks were acquired from Egypt, 400 T-55s from the former Soviet Union, and possibly 150 tanks from Romania. During 1980s about 1 500 Type 59 and Type 69 tanks were acquired from China.

   By the 1980s these tanks were becoming obsolete. So Iraq developed upgrades to modernize its fleet of T-55 series tanks. It is unknown how many Iraqi tanks were upgraded to Enigma standard. However the number was sufficient. Upgraded tanks were assigned as command vehicles for regular T-55 units.

   The Enigma tank has improved protection comparing with the baseline T-55. It is likely that upgrades were influenced by the Soviet T-55AM, which had add-on armor blocks on the glacis and turret. However Iraqi engineers went an extra mile and added armor blocks on the hull and rear of the turret. The T-55 Enigma is fitted with add-on composite armor blocks. These blocks are made up of armor plates, welded into boxes, to create a sort of spaced armor. Add-on armor weights a total of 4.6 t, so the add-on armor plates at the turret rear are used as a counterweight.

   The tank is fitted with NBC protection and automatic fire suppression systems.

   This Iraqi tank is fitted with a fully-stabilized 100-mm gun. It can fire accurately on the move. At a speed of 12 km/h the tank has a first round hit probability of about 60%. A total of 43 rounds are carried.

   Also the Enigma has a roof-mounted 12.7-mm heavy machine gun and two coaxial 7.62-mm machine guns.

   The T-55 Enigma tank also has improved night vision devices.

   The tank is operated by a crew of four, including commander, gunner, loader and driver.

   The T-55 Enigma is powered by a Soviet V-55 diesel engine, developing 520 hp. Maximum road speed is about 40 km/h. Maximum range on fuel, including external tanks, is about 350 km. The tank can be fitted with a deep wading kit and ford water obstacles up to 5 m deep.

   Currently the T-55 Enigma is no longer in service with Iraq.


Enigma tank

Enigma tank

Enigma tank

Enigma tank

Enigma tank

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