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Thread: Armour, part II

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  1. #1
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    Armour, part II

    Tanks are selling as well as ever yet they have only seen limited action in recent conflicts.

    Israeli armour has been used extensively in the West Bank but they have done little more than drive over a few Renaults and shoot at a few journalists. They are certainly not up aganst any serious opposition.

    Russian tanks have fought a difficult geurrilla war with a hardy enemy in unfavourable terrain but they haven't been up against their true enemy, other tanks.

    Makedonia and Yugoslavia both used T-55s to good effect against Albanian terrorists.

    The question is, are tanks becoming little more than glorified self-propelled guns? Can anyone see a future war in which tanks duel against other tanks in great, open battles like on the Eastern Front during WWII?
    Regards, Ivan

  2. #2
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    RE: Armour, part II

    Desert Storm saw some huge, but onesided, tank battles.

    A India vs. Pakistan conflict could see heavy tank battles.

    A millde east war could see them.



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    RE: Armour, part II

    Mmm yup just need the right battlefields; but for now it definitely seems that glorified SPGs is the ticket; thats pretty much what they were in Chechnya; and when used properly (equipped with their ERA and infantry support), were quite effective and the Army were quite satisfied. Of 400 tanks deployed in Chechnya, only 10 were permanent losses; sure, more were damaged, but they were fixable. Strategypage.com reported several instances in the 99-01 war, like in a four hour battle a T-72B equipped with ERA withstood something like seven hits from RPGs; it was immobilized and haggard, but it fought on (main gun just blastin away), and none of the crew were injured.

  4. #4
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    RE: Armour, part II

    I don't know the geography of the area well but surely the terrain in Kashmir is pretty inperfect for tank operations? On footage of previous Kashmiri skirmishes the terrain appears to be uneven valleys with steep mountainous sides, often with ravines and rocky outcrops. Not tank fighting country and certainly enough to limit the size of tank operations.

    Besides, how likely is a massive tank confrontation between India and Pakistan? Surely both sides would prefer a nice, controlable airwar?


    Yugoslav tanks (T-55s especially) performed excellently in Kosovo which simply shows that all the modern gadgets are unnesseccary for the role tanks are taking recently.
    Regards, Ivan

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    RE: Armour, part II

    Maybe Desert Storm II?

    I saw a discovery channel program yesterday and apparantly due to the fortress america policy the next gen US tanks will be very low (like Russian tanks), and about 40 odd tons (Like Russian tanks), and have autoloaders and smaller crews (like Russian tanks).

    Yup, those Ruskies know nothing about building good tanks...


    (BTW the Yanks are even thinking about APCs that can be dropped by parachute... (like Russian BMDs)... but theres will be made of plastic...)

  6. #6
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    RE: Armour, part II

    Garry,

    Maybe they're thinking about lighter, smaller tanks because of the cost of transporting a single Abrams... Also, like I said, a T-55 is perfectly sufficient for fighting terrorists. Incidentally, T-55s with a Russian upgrade swung the war in the Northern Alliance's favour - according to Jane's :-).
    Regards, Ivan

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    RE: Armour, part II

    >Incidentally, T-55s with a Russian upgrade swung
    >the war in the Northern Alliance's favour - according to
    >Jane's :-).

    What swung the war in the NA's favour was in no small amount American & Allied air power! Smashing the Taliban front lines at crucial points provided the necessary break through for the NA.

    Regards, Glenn.

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    RE: Armour, part II

    Glenn,

    I know that, I was just mocking a Jane's headline that read something like "Russian tanks change the power balance in Afghanistan" - or something similar.
    Regards, Ivan

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    RE: Armour, part II

    Oh..

  10. #10
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    RE: Armour, part II

    Yes, the smaller lighter tank concept is to make them transportable by air. 1 C-5 galaxy can carry 1 M1A2 at 65-70 tons each. 1 C-5 could carry 3 T-80Us, plus the C-141 can also carry tanks if they are T-80U weight and not M1A2 weight.

    The Desert Storm buildup too 6 months because 70 ton tanks pretty much have to go by sea. Until they arrive the US armour consists of Sheridans!!!!

    I think the T-55s on the ground gave the NA a mobility that US airpower couldn't. If you think airpower won in afghanistan then you probably think the ground campaign wasn't necessary in Iraq, and that sanctions and bombing infrastructure targets in Yugoslavia during the Kosovo conflict was unecessary...

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    RE: Armour, part II

    Garry,

    I for one don't think that way. But the air campaign in support of the NA was decisive in the fact that it allowed that mobility some room to move.

  12. #12
    elpalmer Guest

    RE: Armour, part II

    Sorry no battle tanks on C-`141s ( first they aren't even wide enough ) The C-17 will take 1 M-1 though.

    There are so many after market things to buy for T-55s now I can't keep track of it. Janes had a cool photo of a T-55 with the add on "box" armor (or what ever you call it )stuck on all over it looks cool ( some Iraqi ones I think) Extra storage for your personal effects with extra storage bins ( Polish ) laser range finder add ons. A sixth road wheel !!!! to improve engine cooling and skirts ( Romania ) With all the cool ammo offered for 105mm western rifles I would rather have the 105mm rifle ( like Egypt ) the latest night gear and if I didn't have a dozer blade on it I would want the flame gun like the TO-55. Now that would be a fun tank to cruise in on Saturday nights. ( hey 57 chevys are getting expensive }> )
    The T-54/55 I think is cool because there are so many things for it. Just as long as I don't have to face targets past 2500 meters its OK. In an extreme range enviornment it would be dead meat.

    Now in a hot evvironment, I think a tank without good air conditioning sucks.

    elp
    usa

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    RE: Armour, part II

    [updated:LAST EDITED ON 17-04-02 AT 09:37 AM (GMT)]elp,

    "The T-54/55 I think is cool because there are so many things for it. Just as long as I don't have to face targets past 2500 meters its OK. In an extreme range enviornment it would be dead meat."

    Not neccessarily true. I can't give you the exact figures (I'm at work - no reference material at hand) but there are Russian-developed guided projectiles available for the T-55's main gun. I think ranges out to 4,000m (with reliable hit probabilities) are now acheivable.
    Regards, Ivan

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    RE: Armour, part II

    I think I mentioned the T-55M upgrade proposed for the T-55 where a turret bustle autoloader is fitted. That would make it much safer in the event of a hit, but it also enables a 120mm NATO gun to be fitted. (With one piece ammo they were too long for carosel loaders).
    The Russians have laser guided anti tank shells in any calibre from an 82mm guided mortor round through to 240mm mortor round including a copperhead like round in 155mm too, so a 120mm round wouldn't be that hard to make if they haven't already.

    My fav adaptation of a MBT was I think polish... they added two 20mm cannon to the rear corners of the turret for AA use against helos. Before production started they were replaced by a single 30mm 2A42 cannon in the left rear corner...

    A possible... though expensive upgrade for all of those T-54/55s East of the Urals could be as BTR-T... or a tank based heavy APC.

    Glenn
    You are certainly entitled to your opinion but 4 wheel drive trucks good communications (SAT phones and walkie talkies) and lack of NA airpower led to a very swift Taliban victory.(Of course the huge support from the US via Pakistan which could not be matched by the much poorer supporters of the NA... Iran and Russia, also helped a great deal and when that assistance was withdrawn from the taliban and came to the aid of the NA the result was not really in doubt... just the timescale... of course the job isn't done yet...) I don't see why B-52s were needed for the NA to do the same. They didn't need US airpower to wipe out the nonexistant taleban airpower. The T-54/55 isn't a super tank but with laser rangefinders against an opponent who doesn't control the skies and therefore can't use their armour effectively then the T-54/55 is a good tank and enabled the ground forces to do something airpower can't... take and hold ground.

  15. #15
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    RE: Armour, part II

    >The T-54/55 isn't a super tank but with
    >laser rangefinders against an opponent who doesn't control
    >the skies and therefore can't use their armour effectively
    >then the T-54/55 is a good tank and enabled the ground
    >forces to do something airpower can't... take and hold
    >ground.

    Garry,

    An air power zealot I am not! But control of the air in this case helped provide the NA forces the edge to move rapidly into shattered Taliban lines, whether they were Taliban fighting in Hilux 4x4s with RPGs or armour as they did still have themselves.

  16. #16
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    RE: Armour, part II

    Here's a treatise on the pure Soviet T-55s (Polish and others not included); regarding the missile issue a Soviet T-55 can launch a Bastion ATGM (AT-10 STABBER, same as that on early BMP-3s) out to 4,000m and penetrate 650mm RHA. Not somethin to snigger at. The improved Arkan (STABBER-B?) on the new BMP-3M (and other vehicles with the BMP-3Ms new unitary turret, like the BTR-90M, BMP-2M, BMD-3M) has a range of 5,500m and can penetrate 700mm RHA, and has a tandem HEAT charge for use against ERA.

    The T-54 tank first appeared in 1949 as the replacement for the famous T-34 tank of WW2. It is descended from the T-44, an expected wartime replacement for the T-34, of which around 900 were built (they did not see action in WW2). The T-54 has been continuously changed and modified, and with sufficient changes being made, became known as the T-55.
    The T-55 was introduced in 1958 and incorporates all the refinements and improvements of the fully developed T-54 series without being radically different in design or appearance. The T-55 has a fully tracked, five-road-wheeled chassis. This chassis has a space between the first and second road wheels and no return rollers. The T-55 has a low-silhouetted hull with a dome shaped turret mounted over the third road wheel. All T-55’s mount an infrared gunner’s searchlight above, and to the right of the main gun. The main gun has a bore evacuator at the end of the muzzle.
    The T-55 uses a new turret, similar to that used on the T-54A, but without the prominent rooftop ‘mushroom’ ventilator dome, and two enlarged ‘D’ roof panels. Internal improvements include the V-55 (580hp) engine, initial stages of the PAZ chemical/radiation protection system, and an increase in ammunition to 43 rounds. This tank does not have a 12.7mm antiaircraft DShKM machine-gun on the loader’s hatch, or the bow mounted machine gun present on the T-54.
    The T-55A series appeared in the early 1960s. Production continued in the Soviet Union until 1981 and was also undertaken in China (as the Type 59), Czechoslovakia and Poland. Used in the invasion of Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968, and Syria in 1970, it was the main Arab tank in the 1967 and 1973 wars with Israel. During the 1970s, the T-54 saw combat in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Uganda. The T-55 is the most produced and widely used Soviet tank ever.
    The T-55 is armed with a two-plane stabilized 100mm rifled main gun, a bow-mounted machine gun and a coaxial machine gun. The T-55 combines its powerful main gun with a highly mobile chassis with exceptional long-range endurance. Cruising range was increased from 400km to 500km, and can be 715km with the two auxiliary fuel tanks carried on the rear.
    The T-55 can ford depths of 1.4 meters without preparation. It has snorkel equipment which enables it to cross depths of up to 5.5 meters at a speed of 2 kilometers per hour. This equipment takes about 30 minutes' preparation, but can be jettisoned immediately on leaving the water.
    The T-55A variant incorporated the complete PAZ/FVU chemical/radiation filtration system. This version is most easily recognized by the larger combings on the commander and loader’s hatches as well as the blister on the driver’s hatch.
    Late production T-55As (Model 1970) saw the reintroduction of the DShKM 12.7mm heavy machine gun on the commander’s hatch.
    Model 1974 T-55As saw the introduction of the KTD-2 laser rangefinder, which is mounted immediately above the main gun in an armored box.
    The OT-55 is a flame-thrower tank armed with the ATO-200 flame projector. The flamethrower is ignited by pyrotechnic charges, and 12 charges are the basic load. The stowage tank contains 460 liters of flammable liquid, and each burst averages 36 liters. The maximum effective range of the system is 200 meters, with the stream having an initial muzzle velocity of 100 m/s.
    The T-55M added the Volna fire control system that could fire the Bastion ATGM through the main gun, enhanced gun stabilization and optics, improved engine, and new radio. Protection enhancements included side skirts, smoke grenade launchers, and improved fire protection.
    The T-55AM saw the addition of appliqué armor, an armor band around the turret for 180 degrees coverage. These armor panels consist of armored steel boxes filled with penapolyurethane. Cavities in the boxes can be supplemented with water or sand for added protection.
    The T-55AD was the designation for some several hundred Soviet Naval Infantry T-55As fitted with the Drozd APS.
    The T-55AMV is a T-55AM fitted with Kontakts light ERA, which on the front turret is mounted to form a chevron.
    The T-55AMD had the Drozd APS instead of ERA. These also belonged to the Naval Infantry.


  17. #17
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    RE: Armour, part II

    Does that mean that you guys agree with me? In a low-scale, guerrilla conflict like we're seeing from the ME to the Balkans, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka etc a T-55 type tank, with a reasonable main amarment, good medium range accuracy and decent protection against RPG type weapons is all you really need.

    Question about Israel's use of armour. The deployment of large numbers of tanks in built up areas is a known military blunder and can result in significant losses of both personel and material. How do the Israelis do it? I haven't heard of a single tank loss since a Merkava hit a mine a few months ago... Perhaps I should be asking is why the Palestinians are so short on any type of anti-tank weapon. I understand that guided missles etc might be a bit of a bitch to smuggle in but surely a handful of RPG-7s would make for a significant morale boost if used correctly.
    Regards, Ivan

  18. #18
    elpalmer Guest

    RE: Armour, part II

    I'll take 24 JDAMs (2000lb) weapons that I can lay down a trench line more times than not when it comes to breaking an enemy that believes in fixed defensive positions. Or similar weapons that can be called in on demand. If tanks were so great, the Soviet Army would have had better control when they were there requardless if they were the godless communists or not. Airpower as it is today will crush important elements of an army, saving lives in the process when friendly ground forces decide to get involved.

    Finally with modern airpower the battlefield can really be "prepared" by the attacking army. The dream of artillery officers throughout the ages.

    elp
    usa

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    RE: Armour, part II

    [updated:LAST EDITED ON 18-04-02 AT 04:22 AM (GMT)]"But control of the air in this case helped provide the NA forces the edge to move rapidly into shattered Taliban lines, whether they were Taliban fighting in Hilux 4x4s with RPGs or armour as they did still have themselves. "

    I would not suggest that the US aircraft controling the sky made no difference at all... on the contrary it made a large contribution in morale as well as actual damage... but the difference between a T-55 with laser rangefinders and night vision equipment vs Toyota hilux's and the odd dug in T-55 that was probably captured in the 80s is going to be pretty one sided. Also past history shows the best way to shift an enemy is to move in ground forces.. and fight tunnel complex by tunnel complex... not with planes but with soldiers and armour.


    Against a guerilla type enemy then the mobility of the tank is not used properly. It is often just used as accurate (direct) artillery in firebases, or to protect convoys. Of course without the tank it is much harder to hold or take ground so it is not so obvious how useful a tank is until it is not there.


    The biggest problem the Soviets had in Afghanistan was the afghan govt forces they were supporting was riddled with Muj spies. The US forces are probably finding out now that some of the Afghans that are helping with the fighting are more interested in attacking a rival village than going after this OBL chap. There have already been reports of US attacks based on "Local" intel that turned out to be the settling of debts rather than Al Quada terrs.

  20. #20
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    RE: Armour, part II

    elp,

    With all due respect I disagree. The faith you have in airpower is based pretty much on the experience of the US in the last three/four wars it fought against enemies incapable of defending themselves properly. A nation unable to acheive the total control of the air like the US can might decide that actually tanks can be quite useful. Besides, I note that even though the US can bring to bear thousands of tons of precision guided ordinance on Afghanistan nothing has replaced the grunt on the ground with his trusty M-16. I'm willing to bet that there's nothing those grunts want more than a few Bradleys and a few Abrams watching their backs.
    Regards, Ivan

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