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View Full Version : Minimum weapon to damage an Abrams tank?


Lumpy
03-02-2011, 10:19 PM
It's time for the gaming group I'm in to agree on a new campaign again and we're debating various possibilies. One discussion we've had got bogged down on the subject of tanks and anti-tank weapons (for simplicity's sake we're assuming early twenty-first century level tech). Simply put, what is the minimum gun that will produce some measurable damage on a main battle tank like the M1 Abrams? Would an M2 .50 caliber machine gun at least degrade the armor, or is anything less than 20mm a waste of time? The idea we're shooting (heh!) for is a tank on a mission in which it never encounters any single threat that could destroy it, but it's facing a "nibbled to death by squirrels" scenerio of cumulative damage over days or weeks from light artillery.

Whack-a-Mole
03-02-2011, 10:41 PM
Shovel.

Dig a sufficient ditch and let it fall in.

chacoguy
03-02-2011, 10:48 PM
There's never been an M-! Abrams lost in battle, so there's no real world answer.

I could be wrong. (http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100225141152AAzm5GR)

Dano83860
03-02-2011, 10:49 PM
Trouble is if you can get close enough to hit it you are already dead.

smithsb
03-02-2011, 10:54 PM
Depends on what kind of damage you're talking about. The ability to absorb hits/explosions is classified. Some things to ponder.
1. Penetrate the hull and severely injure or kill the crew.
2. Mobility kill. Tear up a tread or drive gear.
3. Mobility kill. Rear shot damaging the engine.
4. Mobility kill. Triple stack of large anti-tank mines might flip it over on it's side.
5. Obscure things. Dozens of squirrels hitting the observation ports would degrade the crew's ability to see out unless they open up the hatches. Note that hundred of squirrels would be dead in the meantime.
Where are you coming from? Front armor is thickest/robust. You'd need at least a 5-6" diameter shaped charge warhead with a precursor charge to disrupt the reactive armor. Maybe the Russian 125mm sabot tank round could do sufficient damage. Again - classified.

Side attack against the body or turret would take a big diameter anti-tank missile or a Kinetic Energy/ HEAT round in the 100mm diameter and up range. Classified info here also.

From the top or bottom, armor is the thinnest. Some anti-tank missiles either fly a "top attack profile" (Javelin - US) or fire downward self-forging plate projectiles (TOW-2B - US). Helicopter, drone, aircraft fired missiles also do top attack. Anti-tank mines with plate projectiles could be expected to penetrate the bottom armor if sufficient in size.

Rear attack against the engine. An anti-tank round from a grenade launcher might do the trick. Shaped charge would mess up the engine or auxiliary equipment.

Basically small arms and machine guns would make sleeping difficult for the crew but that's about all.
The tank will take itself out of action fairly rapidly due to fuel consumption, mechanical problems (clogged filters), and ammunition shortages. It's going to need fuel pretty much every day if moving. If actively engaging, multiple ammo uploads as well each day.

Patch
03-02-2011, 10:54 PM
Not a tanker here, but going off my love for tanks the only thing a .50 is going to do is damage periscopes and exterior gear. Your best bet for damage from light cannon would be against the tracks. I know the Abrams' armor is a mix of different materials in layers, but I think you'd have to get something fairly heavy involved to penetrate enough to start compromising the armor over larger areas.

Patch
03-02-2011, 10:55 PM
Where are you coming from? Front armor is thickest/robust. You'd need at least a 5-6" diameter shaped charge warhead with a precursor charge to disrupt the reactive armor.

?? The Abrams doesn't have reactive armor.

ETA: Ah. They have it on the skirts now with TUSK systems.

Whack-a-Mole
03-02-2011, 10:56 PM
If you threw enough Molotov Cocktails at it could you heat the inside sufficiently to make the crew bail?

Otherwise define what damaging the tank means.

My understanding is the treads are a weak point. Break that and the tank is going nowhere. However, the crew can still swivel the turret and shoot the gun. Is that disabled enough or are we talking totally dead tank?

In which case I go back to the shovel. Tank traps have been a part of warfare since the things were invented. See what the Soviets achieved at Kursk. They built massive (as in a lot) tank defenses around there. Pretty much all done with peasant labor and hand tools. Screwed the Germans pretty well.

Chronos
03-02-2011, 10:59 PM
What's the ventilation like in a tank? Could you get something poisonous or noxious into the crew compartment? Alternately, could you clog up the vents and suffocate the crew?

Patch
03-02-2011, 11:16 PM
What's the ventilation like in a tank? Could you get something poisonous or noxious into the crew compartment? Alternately, could you clog up the vents and suffocate the crew?

Modern tanks are equipped to survive in a nuclear, biological, or chemical environment. Like any container, close the air vents and you'll eventually kill everyone inside.

It's my understanding that modern western tanks are fairly resistant to Molotov cocktails and the like with automated fire suppression systems.

Heyoka13
03-02-2011, 11:21 PM
Would there be an 'easy' tweak you could do to the barrel of the gun to insure a misfire the next time they tried to fire a shell?

Like snag it with a chain anchored securely and bend it a little?

Patch
03-02-2011, 11:23 PM
Would there be an 'easy' tweak you could do to the barrel of the gun to insure a misfire the next time they tried to fire a shell?

Like snag it with a chain anchored securely and bend it a little?

Doubtful.

And don't forget, there's an awful lot on the tank that's going to make your day unpleasant as you try all of this.

Whack-a-Mole
03-02-2011, 11:33 PM
Would there be an 'easy' tweak you could do to the barrel of the gun to insure a misfire the next time they tried to fire a shell?

Like snag it with a chain anchored securely and bend it a little?

Doubtful.

And don't forget, there's an awful lot on the tank that's going to make your day unpleasant as you try all of this.

My understanding is sticking your finger in a gun barrel is enough to cause the gun to backfire and cause the shooter problems.

Yes, your finger is toast.

That said, if true, doesn't sound like it takes a lot to plug a gun barrel.

Obviously a tank's gun needs more than your finger to plug it up but presumably if you could stuff something down the barrel you might disable the main gun.

Of course pulling that off is another matter. I imagine your chances of dying while trying to stuff something in the barrel of a tank are pretty high.

In theory though, if you pulled it off, you could disable the main gun with mud.

chacoguy
03-02-2011, 11:35 PM
My MISunderstanding is sticking your finger in a gun barrel is enough to cause the gun to backfire and cause the shooter problems.



FTFY

Whack-a-Mole
03-02-2011, 11:47 PM
FTFY

So, you point a gun at me, I stick my finger in the barrel (firmly) and you shoot the gun and all that happens is I get my finger blown off (and perhaps part of my hand)?

Patch
03-02-2011, 11:58 PM
So, you point a gun at me, I stick my finger in the barrel (firmly) and you shoot the gun and all that happens is I get my finger blown off (and perhaps part of my hand)?

Mythbusters covered this. Short answer - yes.

Heyoka13
03-02-2011, 11:58 PM
Well, we have seen, for instance, tanks in urban settings (Tienanmen Square) and at least occasionally, civilians get close to them.

I am wondering what would happen if a big handful of masonry drill bits was chucked into the gun and then the tank crew attempted to fire it.

Are the barrels rifled? Seems like hardened metal rods might jam it up pretty bad. The shell probably would not detonate, but overpressure in the gun could be a problem, and once you jam a shell in the barrel, the gun is toast.

Whack-a-Mole
03-03-2011, 12:06 AM
Mythbusters covered this. Short answer - yes.

Neat!

Do you have a link to the episode? (I believe you...I just want to see them do it)

Whack-a-Mole
03-03-2011, 12:09 AM
Are the barrels rifled?

IIRC the Abrams was upgraded to the smooth-bore rifle.

Der Trihs
03-03-2011, 12:10 AM
It's my understanding that modern western tanks are fairly resistant to Molotov cocktails and the like with automated fire suppression systems.That came up in the earlier tank thread about why they are used against protests; it was mentioned that yes, they have fire suppression systems that make them more difficult to hurt that way than older tanks. But enough fire will cause the fire suppressant system to run out, naturally.

Are the barrels rifled? Earlier versions were rifled, later versions are smoothbore. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M1_Abrams#Primary_armament)

Heyoka13
03-03-2011, 12:12 AM
How about a bag of ammonium nitrate fertilizer packed in the barrel?

They fire the gun, the shell detonates 10 pounds of explosive AHEAD of itself in the barrel.

Kerblooey!

Heyoka13
03-03-2011, 12:15 AM
Crap,

It occurs to me the fertilizer won't be contained like the breach of the gun is. The explosion will just blow out the end of the barrel, followed closely by the shell.

You'd need something heavy in the barrel on top of the ammonium nitrate.

Ranchoth
03-03-2011, 12:25 AM
You've got a coaxial machine gun mounted with the main gun, though. The attacker could get sprayed off if they tried to get to the muzzle of main gun...assuming they could even reach it! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:M1A1_Abrams_with_Integrated_Management_System_new_Tank_Urban_Survivability_Kit_Dec._2007.jpg)

(Say, uh, does this thread remind anyone else of the old Saturday Night Live "Desert Storm press briefing" sketch (http://snltranscripts.jt.org/90/90lgulfwarbriefing.phtml)? "I have time for two more questions. Yeah? " "Yes, Farud Hashami, Baghdad Times. Where are your troops, and can I go there and count them? ")

Patch
03-03-2011, 12:30 AM
Neat!

Do you have a link to the episode? (I believe you...I just want to see them do it)

You'll have to sort through this five part series (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7lSfmmrtd0) to see which clip has it. I believe it starts at the very end and continues into the rest of the series.

Rick
03-03-2011, 12:32 AM
I gallon of gasoline + 1 match

Patch
03-03-2011, 12:33 AM
You've got a coaxial machine gun mounted with the main gun, though. The attacker could get sprayed off if they tried to get to the muzzle of main gun...assuming they could even reach it! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:M1A1_Abrams_with_Integrated_Management_System_new_Tank_Urban_Survivability_Kit_Dec._2007.jpg)

(Say, uh, does this thread remind anyone else of the old Saturday Night Live "Desert Storm press briefing" sketch (http://snltranscripts.jt.org/90/90lgulfwarbriefing.phtml)? "I have time for two more questions. Yeah? " "Yes, Farud Hashami, Baghdad Times. Where are your troops, and can I go there and count them? ")

Damn near peed myself watching that sketch. :D

Don't recall the book, but they covered a Marine armored unit escaping the initial Chinese assault. The Chinese troops tried repeatedly to destroy by firing up the barrels of the tanks, in the hopes of either detonating the shells inside or getting lucky and getting rounds in when the breach was open. They weren't successful.

Rhythmdvl
03-03-2011, 01:04 AM
Maybe if you had enough bananas (http://boardstest.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=598716)(and cajones).

Declan
03-03-2011, 01:34 AM
It's time for the gaming group I'm in to agree on a new campaign again and we're debating various possibilies. One discussion we've had got bogged down on the subject of tanks and anti-tank weapons (for simplicity's sake we're assuming early twenty-first century level tech). Simply put, what is the minimum gun that will produce some measurable damage on a main battle tank like the M1 Abrams? Would an M2 .50 caliber machine gun at least degrade the armor, or is anything less than 20mm a waste of time? The idea we're shooting (heh!) for is a tank on a mission in which it never encounters any single threat that could destroy it, but it's facing a "nibbled to death by squirrels" scenerio of cumulative damage over days or weeks from light artillery.

I'd start with a five inch gun and work up from there.

Declan

kferr
03-03-2011, 07:48 AM
Where is the 'gas cap' on a tank? Could you sneak up and dump in a bunch of water or fine grit to clog the filters and/or damage the engine?

Machine Elf
03-03-2011, 08:51 AM
Could you "blind" the tank crew by spraying the tank with some kind of obscurant? If the periscopes/cameras/windows are all covered with ink, the tank crew can't drive anywhere or respond to threats without opening a hatch, thus exposing their fleshy parts to enemy fire.

Hermitian
03-03-2011, 09:01 AM
Man, this thread heavy on guesses, low on info.

Check out this Brief (http://www.fprado.com/armorsite/US-Field-Manuals/abrams-oif.pdf#prof). I have no ability to fact check it.

Lumpy
03-03-2011, 09:02 AM
Basically small arms and machine guns would make sleeping difficult for the crew but that's about all.That's what we're talking about- where does a gun (as far as tanks go) stop being "small arms" and starts being artillery? Maybe a .50 caliber only dings the armor; does a 20mm chip out pockmarks? Does a 25mm crater the armor or crack plates? The main gun on the A-10 Avenger (a.k.a. "Warthog) is 30mm, and that definitely is something tanks have to worry about.

The idea is that the tank is continually taking forlorn-hope shots from underarmed opponents and while no single shot has any real hope of taking the tank out, the tank is slowly getting beat up.

Patch
03-03-2011, 09:12 AM
Could you "blind" the tank crew by spraying the tank with some kind of obscurant? If the periscopes/cameras/windows are all covered with ink, the tank crew can't drive anywhere or respond to threats without opening a hatch, thus exposing their fleshy parts to enemy fire.

You can replace periscopes from inside the tank.

Machine Elf
03-03-2011, 09:17 AM
You can replace periscopes from inside the tank.

How many have they got? Or are you talking about retracting the 'scope to clean it, and then reinstalling it?

If they're replacing them, then eventually they'll run out.

If they're cleaning them, then maybe an acid attack, or some kind of etchant that permanently damages the optics.

Either way, they would be at least temporarily blinded, presenting an opportunity for a more close-up attack that might be able to damage other systems.

bump
03-03-2011, 09:21 AM
I seem to remember that in OIF, a RPG round penetrated the side hull armor of an Abrams.

I suspect that from the sides and rear, M1s aren't nearly as invulnerable as they seem to be frontally. I'd bet that many (most?) infantry AT weapons would penetrate if fired from those angles. They'd definitely penetrate the top of the tank.

Problem is, we generally don't send tanks unsupported by infantry into areas where infantry could easily get shots on the sides and rear.

Patch
03-03-2011, 09:25 AM
That's what we're talking about- where does a gun (as far as tanks go) stop being "small arms" and starts being artillery? Maybe a .50 caliber only dings the armor; does a 20mm chip out pockmarks? Does a 25mm crater the armor or crack plates? The main gun on the A-10 Avenger (a.k.a. "Warthog) is 30mm, and that definitely is something tanks have to worry about.

The idea is that the tank is continually taking forlorn-hope shots from underarmed opponents and while no single shot has any real hope of taking the tank out, the tank is slowly getting beat up.

The problem is a tank isn't uniformly protected. You're not taking out an M1A2 Abrams from the front, as the armor there is over 2 ft thick. But a Bradley's 25mm will take one out from the rear as the engine compartment isn't as well protected. Your light weapons will go 'ping ping ping' from the front, and will take out the tank from the rear. A-10's aren't just hitting the sides and rear of tanks, they're hitting the top as well, which makes them deadly. Because of the variation in armor thicknesses, your story goes from "we can't touch it" to "well, it's dead, now what" fairly quickly.

How much damage can the main armor matrix of an Abrams take before it begins failing? Who knows? The military won't tell, so we have to guess on such stuff and frankly, there's no data on which to make a guess.

clairobscur
03-03-2011, 09:26 AM
Could you "blind" the tank crew by spraying the tank with some kind of obscurant? If the periscopes/cameras/windows are all covered with ink, the tank crew can't drive anywhere or respond to threats without opening a hatch, thus exposing their fleshy parts to enemy fire.


It's not intended to mock you.... But the more I read the thread, the more I have the mental picture of a Tex Avery cartoon, with droopy putting his finger into the gun barrel, splashing the tank with a bucket of ink, etc... :D

Machine Elf
03-03-2011, 09:46 AM
It's not intended to mock you.... But the more I read the thread, the more I have the mental picture of a Tex Avery cartoon, with droopy putting his finger into the gun barrel, splashing the tank with a bucket of ink, etc... :D

I freely confess that a lot of what I know about tanks comes from playing Battlezone (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battlezone_(1980_video_game)) some 30 years ago.

FWIW, the thread has shifted from "what's the minimum weapon that will damage a tank" to "how can we stop a tank without anti-tank weapons" - at which point your only option is to get creative and hope for the best (while expecting to die).

SenorBeef
03-03-2011, 09:56 AM
That's what we're talking about- where does a gun (as far as tanks go) stop being "small arms" and starts being artillery? Maybe a .50 caliber only dings the armor; does a 20mm chip out pockmarks? Does a 25mm crater the armor or crack plates? The main gun on the A-10 Avenger (a.k.a. "Warthog) is 30mm, and that definitely is something tanks have to worry about.


The A-10 isn't much of a threat to modern tanks. The early era tanks it was meant to destroy had critically weak top armor that the 30mm rounds woul penetrate, but subsequent generations were beefed up. It's still useful as an anti-vehicle weapon - but not against modern tanks so much.

That's the thing about armor - if you don't penetrate it, you tend not to hurt it at all. You could ping a 20mm gun off the side of a tank all day and not hurt it. Something generally either penetrates or doesn't, and if it doesn't, no harm done. I don't actually know what would happen in extreme cases (say a 75mm recoilless rifle being fired at one over and over) - I suppose if you could hit it in the same spot you'd eventually weaken the armor, but there's not a lot of real world experience with this sort of thing since it's a pretty implausible scenario.

Malthus
03-03-2011, 09:57 AM
How about luring the tank into attempting to cross a deep hole covered by camoflage netting? Would that trap a tank?

The Great Sun Jester
03-03-2011, 10:01 AM
IIRC the Abrams was upgraded to the smooth-bore rifle.By "rifle" do you mean "barrel"? I thought "smooth bore" and "rifle" were mutualy exclusive.

Musicat
03-03-2011, 10:12 AM
Could you "blind" the tank crew by spraying the tank with some kind of obscurant? If the periscopes/cameras/windows are all covered with ink, the tank crew can't drive anywhere or respond to threats without opening a hatch, thus exposing their fleshy parts to enemy fire.The problem with many of these ideas reminds me of the "How do you bell the cat?" children's story. While plugging up a gun barrel might work, you have to expose yourself an awful lot to do it.

Remember when the mice got together and decided that they could save their collective assess if only they knew the cat was coming, and a bell around the collar would be ample warning. All agreed; problem solved. Next question, "Who will put the bell on?"

Sailboat
03-03-2011, 10:15 AM
That's what we're talking about- where does a gun (as far as tanks go) stop being "small arms" and starts being artillery? Maybe a .50 caliber only dings the armor; does a 20mm chip out pockmarks? Does a 25mm crater the armor or crack plates? The main gun on the A-10 Avenger (a.k.a. "Warthog) is 30mm, and that definitely is something tanks have to worry about.

The presentation Hermitian linked to mentions one being penetrated in the rear armor by a 25mm DU (depleted uranium) round. Two things I take away from that information: that must have been a US Bradley AFV, so either a friendly-fire accident or an attempt to destroy a disabled tank; and if the latter, the one hole implies penetration was unusual, as a 25mm cannon would normally fire many rounds.

I have no cite, but I recently read that, although for a long time no M-1 had been destroyed by penetrating enemy fire, two M-1s have now been lost to penetrating fire. What I read did not specify how (which may even be classified), but the author spent a lot of time talking about Kornet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/9M133_Kornet) anti-tank missiles. I also read that in numerous attempts to destroy M-1s that they were abandoning, US forces were unable to penetrate, or in some cases penetrated only after multiple attempts, the newer armor supplemented by depleted uranium mesh, even at point-blank range using tank main guns. That's really impressive.

The idea is that the tank is continually taking forlorn-hope shots from underarmed opponents and while no single shot has any real hope of taking the tank out, the tank is slowly getting beat up.

If you haven't already, you should watch The Beast (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beast_%281988_film%29).

Scumpup
03-03-2011, 10:23 AM
I bet you could destroy one by suspending two enormous logs from rope slings and releasing them to simultaneously swing down and hit the tank from the sides.

Heyoka13
03-03-2011, 10:28 AM
OK, thinking out of the box here, take crescent wrenches and a socket set and just start taking the tank apart.

Sailboat
03-03-2011, 10:29 AM
Basically small arms and machine guns would make sleeping difficult for the crew but that's about all.

I suppose you could try to lure a tank into a trap of soem kind by pinging small arms off the turret on the assumption it would drive over to where the shooting came from.

It's going to need fuel pretty much every day if moving. If actively engaging, multiple ammo uploads as well each day.

One interesting point made in the presentation Hermitian linked to was that while in hostile country, the need to constantly traverse the turrets impacted maintenance and fuel consumption.

If you threw enough Molotov Cocktails at it could you heat the inside sufficiently to make the crew bail?

No cite, but I recently read that an M-1 set on fire during urban fighting was abandoned without recovering the driver's body (too hot to go in there). When the wreck was recovered hours later, the driver was found alive and unhurt, having been protected by the automatic fire suppression system (and, I'd guess, by bottled oxygen) inside the flaming wreck.

So I conclude it would take a lot of flammable material to achieve this on an Abrams.

In which case I go back to the shovel. Tank traps have been a part of warfare since the things were invented. See what the Soviets achieved at Kursk. They built massive (as in a lot) tank defenses around there. Pretty much all done with peasant labor and hand tools. Screwed the Germans pretty well.

Yeah, the belt of fixed defenses (including anti-tank ditches, prepared gun posiions, and mines) was a hundred miles deep at Kursk.

Heyoka13
03-03-2011, 10:29 AM
Oh, damn, it's METRIC!


:smack:

Malthus
03-03-2011, 10:31 AM
OK, thinking out of the box here, take crescent wrenches and a socket set and just start taking the tank apart.


To expand - drive up in a truck labelled "roadside tank repair"? :D

Machine Elf
03-03-2011, 10:32 AM
The problem with many of these ideas reminds me of the "How do you bell the cat?" children's story. While plugging up a gun barrel might work, you have to expose yourself an awful lot to do it.

Remember when the mice got together and decided that they could save their collective assess if only they knew the cat was coming, and a bell around the collar would be ample warning. All agreed; problem solved. Next question, "Who will put the bell on?"

A cat is pretty good at detecting, and defending against, attackers approaching from pretty much any direction.

Is the same true of a tank?

Can a tank crew shoot at individual soldiers approaching from the sides or rear? Can the tank crew respond rapidly if it's an ambush (e.g. a soldier jumps out from behind a tree as the tank rolls by, and splatters it with ink)? What's the small-caliber machine gun like on a tank? Is it a remote-controlled thing that might take a second or two to whirl around and zero in on such an attack, or is it a tank crew member who pops out of a hatch with a handheld weapon? If the former, does it have a limited range of elevation, such that it might be difficult to target a soldier standing/crouching right next to the tank?

Sailboat
03-03-2011, 10:33 AM
To expand - drive up in a truck labelled "roadside tank repair"? :D

Chicks! The mechanics should be hot chicks in tank tops (duh!). From what I've seen of soldiers, the crew might be happy to let them crawl around, bending over gearboxes and handling tools.

This could work!

Scumpup
03-03-2011, 10:35 AM
Chicks! The mechanics should be hot chicks in tank tops (duh!). From what I've seen of soldiers, the crew might be happy to let them crawl around, bending over gearboxes and handling tools.

This could work!

Not if they are Marines. Jarheads handle their own tools.

Malthus
03-03-2011, 10:41 AM
Chicks! The mechanics should be hot chicks in tank tops (duh!). From what I've seen of soldiers, the crew might be happy to let them crawl around, bending over gearboxes and handling tools.

This could work!

It could certainly do to fulfil the "minimum" requirement - "minimum" of clothing, that is.

I think we have the answer ...

Musicat
03-03-2011, 11:49 AM
In the 1956 uprising in Czechoslovakia, I seem to remember some modest success by the revolutionaries against Soviet tanks, yet the rebels were poorly supplied, so it wasn't due to sophisticated weapons. What little I can find: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungarian_Revolution_of_1956)By noon on 24 October, Soviet tanks were stationed outside the Parliament building and Soviet soldiers guarded key bridges and crossroads. Armed revolutionaries quickly set up barricades to defend Budapest, and were reported to have already captured some Soviet tanks by mid-morning.However, it is possible that the tanks were less "captured" than handed over by sympathetic troops.

Malthus
03-03-2011, 11:52 AM
Heh, I remember reading in a book of urban legends about a wide-spead one involving some rebels somewhere painting a potato to look like a grenade, dropping it into the open hatch of a tank - causing the crew to flee in panic & allowing the rebels to capture the tank ... :D

Chronos
03-03-2011, 12:04 PM
It seems to me that there's a lot you can do to a tank if you can get close enough, and that the tank's defenses against such attacks mostly consist of making sure the enemy doesn't get that close to begin with. Which is fine if you're fighting on a big open plain, but could present a problem in urban fighting, where the enemy can get close enough just by stepping out a doorway.

Scumpup
03-03-2011, 12:08 PM
Lone tanks are considerably more vulnerable than tanks that are supported by other tanks and by infantry. A friend of mine who served in an armored unit in WWII told me about tanks hosing each other down with machinegun fire to "scrape off" attacking foot soldiers.

BMalion
03-03-2011, 12:25 PM
get the crew drunk.

Lestrade
03-03-2011, 12:41 PM
The problem with many of these ideas reminds me of the "How do you bell the cat?" children's story. While plugging up a gun barrel might work, you have to expose yourself an awful lot to do it.

Remember when the mice got together and decided that they could save their collective assess if only they knew the cat was coming, and a bell around the collar would be ample warning. All agreed; problem solved. Next question, "Who will put the bell on?"

In my (limited) experience the cat learns how to stake out bird encampments and pounce. This eliminates the utility of the bell as the birds don't hear the cat coming-the cat is already there.

Rhythmdvl
03-03-2011, 12:51 PM
I freely confess that a lot of what I know about tanks comes from playing Battlezone (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battlezone_(1980_video_game)) some 30 years ago.

FWIW, the thread has shifted from "what's the minimum weapon that will damage a tank" to "how can we stop a tank without anti-tank weapons" - at which point your only option is to get creative and hope for the best (while expecting to die).

Along these lines, I suggest pointing your fingers at the tank and saying "bangitty-bang-bang!"

No, wait ... that's already proven not to work by definition.

Elendil's Heir
03-03-2011, 01:02 PM
I bet you could destroy one by suspending two enormous logs from rope slings and releasing them to simultaneously swing down and hit the tank from the sides.

Gah! Ewoks! Run away!

If the OP didn't want to get bogged down in the details of the actual capabilities and limitations of the M1 Abrams for his game, he could just posit a fictional type of tank, and describe it as he saw fit. May I suggest the M2A1 Chamberlain...?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joshua_Lawrence_Chamberlain

kombatminipig
03-03-2011, 01:15 PM
A cat is pretty good at detecting, and defending against, attackers approaching from pretty much any direction.

Is the same true of a tank?

Can a tank crew shoot at individual soldiers approaching from the sides or rear? Can the tank crew respond rapidly if it's an ambush (e.g. a soldier jumps out from behind a tree as the tank rolls by, and splatters it with ink)? What's the small-caliber machine gun like on a tank? Is it a remote-controlled thing that might take a second or two to whirl around and zero in on such an attack, or is it a tank crew member who pops out of a hatch with a handheld weapon? If the former, does it have a limited range of elevation, such that it might be difficult to target a soldier standing/crouching right next to the tank?

Generally, no. The commander, gunner and driver have every form of optical sight you can imagine, but naturally terrain and other obstructions make these null and void. On whether you can sneak up on a tank or not depends on the terrain: a good tank commander trying to merely survive from ground based assault will probably choose lowland terrain, open enough to make him difficult to sneak up on but with enough elevated features that he can hide his tank hull down.

The vanilla Abrams has three machine guns: the commander has an M2 in front of his hatch, the loader has an M240 in front of his and the gunner can control another M240 on a coaxial mount from inside the turret. Naturally, the former two put their users in harm's way. The M2 can either be replaced by the TUSK remote controlled platform, or by a M134 minigun. I don't think any of these can be aimed skin close to the tank, on the other hand I expect that the driver would dispatch any infantry at that range.

I'm not sure I added much to the thread, but my 0.0.2 =)

Sailboat
03-03-2011, 01:38 PM
If the OP didn't want to get bogged down in the details of the actual capabilities and limitations of the M1 Abrams for his game, he could just posit a fictional type of tank, and describe it as he saw fit. May I suggest the M2A1 Chamberlain...?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joshua_Lawrence_Chamberlain

May I respectfully submit that, in honor of its namesake, the proposed Chamberlain be designed with a gigantic ring bayonet attachment for the main gun?

GargoyleWB
03-03-2011, 02:21 PM
Could you "blind" the tank crew by spraying the tank with some kind of obscurant? ...

I was thinking of some kind of foam canister that would expand and cover the tank in a pile of sticky messy foam. Pretty much make the tank operationally useless I'd think.

Elendil's Heir
03-03-2011, 02:42 PM
May I respectfully submit that, in honor of its namesake, the proposed Chamberlain be designed with a gigantic ring bayonet attachment for the main gun?

As an optional kit, sure, why not...? ;)

Lumpy
03-03-2011, 03:09 PM
Based on replies and posted links, I'm going to propose that a 25mm gun (especially a rotary weapon like the GAU-12) is going to be in the category of "can't be blithely ignored" by the tank crew.

Heyoka13
03-03-2011, 03:32 PM
Could someone use their blue-tooth enabled Droid cell phone to 'take over' the tanks operating system ?


:dubious:

Whack-a-Mole
03-03-2011, 03:34 PM
Mythbusters covered this. Short answer - yes.

I watched the episode and stuffing mud in the barrel of the shotgun caused the barrel to shred itself.

So, presumably if you shove enough mud down the barrel of a tank that'd disable the gun.

Of course easier said than done so not practical but in theory could work.

Spiny Norman
03-03-2011, 04:45 PM
I watched the episode and stuffing mud in the barrel of the shotgun caused the barrel to shred itself.

So, presumably if you shove enough mud down the barrel of a tank that'd disable the gun.

Of course easier said than done so not practical but in theory could work.

If you're an infantryman, the main gun isn't your main concern - the coax machine gun is the weapon of choice for soft targets. To quote an old instructor of mine, if an enemy tank commander fires his main gun at you, he's paying you a huge compliment, because things are not going his way.

Anyway, apart from the million-to-one chances, you're going for a mobility kill. Man-portable shaped-charge weapons - AT84, one of the updated Carl Gustav rounds, something of that nature - can disable a modern tank if fired at rear or top armor. Fire a volley of 2 or 3, if you have them - only you won't. If a tank commander is dumb enough to get in situation where you can sneak up on him with a charge of 10 pounds or more of HE (and get away), that's a viable plan as well. (Not a good plan. Any plan assuming the enemy is stupid is a bad plan.) My old field manuals consider anything less than that basically pointless as regards stopping a tank. (Keeping the crew disoriented and unable to see the situation may still be a worthwhile use of the old Molotov.)

As an old infantryman, I still maintain the very best way to fight enemy tanks is to have them run over anti-tank mines that I put down 2 days ago and 10 miles away.

smithsb
03-03-2011, 04:58 PM
There is one incident of an Abrams rupturing the main gun due to an obstruction. The tank ingested a large branch while maneuvering through the woods. The barrel ruptured when fired at the target station.

I don't believe Mythbusters did the first TV testing of the "finger-in-barrel" method of gun stoppage. My candidate is the dynamic duo of Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny in "Rabbit Rampage" (1955). I humbly bow to earlier cites of course.

Precambrianmollusc
03-03-2011, 05:14 PM
Lone tanks are considerably more vulnerable than tanks that are supported by other tanks and by infantry. A friend of mine who served in an armored unit in WWII told me about tanks hosing each other down with machinegun fire to "scrape off" attacking foot soldiers.

I was reading an autobiography of a Canadian forward observer for the artillery in WWII. He commented that they would frequently call in salvos on german tanks, not so much to destroy the tank but to force the infantry supporting the tanks to run off. The tank would follow soon after, as the tank commanders did not like being close to Canadian infantry when they had no infantry support of their own.

kanicbird
03-03-2011, 05:18 PM
Could you do anything with a whole lot of small magnets? I would think they would cling onto the tank, can may cause trouble wit the tread mechanics.

Whack-a-Mole
03-03-2011, 05:22 PM
If you're an infantryman, the main gun isn't your main concern - the coax machine gun is the weapon of choice for soft targets. To quote an old instructor of mine, if an enemy tank commander fires his main gun at you, he's paying you a huge compliment, because things are not going his way.


Unless he's shooting a XM1028 120mm Canister Tank Cartridge (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/munitions/m1028.htm) at you. Effectively that ammo turns the main gun into a giant shotgun. It is specifically meant as an anti-infantry ammunition.

Otara
03-03-2011, 06:08 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RPG-29

One of these is supposed to have damaged an M1 and taken out the frontal arc of a Challenger, so probably qualifies as the smallest man portable ranged weapon that can be expected to have a chance to take one out if enough shots can be fired at it, particularly from the side or rear.

Otara

Chronos
03-03-2011, 06:15 PM
There is one incident of an Abrams rupturing the main gun due to an obstruction. The tank ingested a large branch while maneuvering through the woods.I love the use of the word "ingested", here.

Der Trihs
03-03-2011, 06:55 PM
I bet you could destroy one by suspending two enormous logs from rope slings and releasing them to simultaneously swing down and hit the tank from the sides.That reminds me of a conversation on a sci-fi board about that scene, which led to someone linking to a tank forum. The tank guys were talking about how weak that made those scout walkers compared to a modern tank, and mentioned an incident in Europe where a tank was hit by a train. The train was derailed, the tank lost its treads, but the tank was otherwise undamaged. Logs won't cut it. If you think about it, trying to destroy a tank with logs is a lot like trying to crush a walnut with marshmallows - wood's a lot softer than tank armor.

Could you do anything with a whole lot of small magnets? I would think they would cling onto the tank, can may cause trouble wit the tread mechanics.
That strikes me as one of those cool ideas that's impossible to pull off. That many magnets would be extremely bulky, heavy (you'd want magnetized steel or something similar, since lighter & softer magnets would just get crunched to dust) and they'd cling to each other too. Basically, you'd have to pile them in a huge heap and hope the tank decided to drive over them.

SandyHook
03-03-2011, 07:16 PM
There's never been an M-! Abrams lost in battle, so there's no real world answer.

I could be wrong. (http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100225141152AAzm5GR)


Well of course there's never been an M-! lost, on that I believe we can all agree.



But the issue here is the M-1.

Snarky_Kong
03-03-2011, 07:59 PM
I watched the episode and stuffing mud in the barrel of the shotgun caused the barrel to shred itself.

So, presumably if you shove enough mud down the barrel of a tank that'd disable the gun.

Of course easier said than done so not practical but in theory could work.

You are misremembering. The thing that caused the broken barrel was when they welded it shut. It still fired too.

Patch
03-03-2011, 09:03 PM
Lone tanks are considerably more vulnerable than tanks that are supported by other tanks and by infantry. A friend of mine who served in an armored unit in WWII told me about tanks hosing each other down with machinegun fire to "scrape off" attacking foot soldiers.

A friend who served on M48s in Vietnam did this too. They called it 'back scratching'.

There are dead zones (no pun intended) near a tank where the tank's armament cannot depress enough to engage infantry. Some WW2 tanks used to have gun ports so the crew could engage close infantry, and the Germans had a close-in defensive weapon system on some tanks (Nahverteidigungswaffe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nahverteidigungswaffe)) which could be used against infantry. I don't know that such systems are in use in modern vehicles.

If a tank lacks outside support (such as infantry), and infantry can get close, they can kill a tank. The Russians, who should have known better, learned this the hard way in Grozny in '94 when they sent armor unsupported by infantry into the city. The launched multiple anti-tank weapons into the sides, rear, and tops of the T-72s and BMPs from upper stories and rooftops, and the Russians couldn't elevate their guns high enough to retaliate.

Any band going after a tank with light weapons in the op's scenario is likely to score a mobility kill first. After that, it's only a matter of time before the 'bunker' is taken out. The crew only has so much ammo, and so much gas, to power their systems.

Second the movie The Beast. Loved that one. It's about a lost T-55 in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation that is being pursed by a band of mujahadeen. The crew is struggling with decreasing fuel and ammo supplies as they try to escape. George Dzundas, from Law and Order, is the Soviet tank commander.

ChrisBooth12
03-03-2011, 11:51 PM
Wouldn't a Molotov cocktail impair their vision? I mean fire suppression system aside that can't last forever and its not like they are hard to make or use. I think a barrage of them would eventually suffocate the crew or blind the tank to the point it wont move

Spiny Norman
03-04-2011, 12:04 AM
Unless he's shooting a XM1028 120mm Canister Tank Cartridge (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/munitions/m1028.htm) at you. Effectively that ammo turns the main gun into a giant shotgun. It is specifically meant as an anti-infantry ammunition.

Oh, it's a short-lived compliment, all right. Canister rounds weren't around back when I wore green. Most tanks will still prefer to engage at longer distances. Interestingly, tank crews in counterinsurgency have started to use a sabot round that breaks up on impact to take out snipers and point targets - because it is safer for whatever noncombatants may be around.

Whack-a-Mole
03-04-2011, 08:51 AM
You are misremembering. The thing that caused the broken barrel was when they welded it shut. It still fired too.

Nope.

I just watched it yesterday.

Oddly, when they welded a plug into the barrel it shot the plug out with minimal damage to the barrel.

When they stuffed mud into the barrel the end of the barrel shredded itself. You can see it here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnRqFHtQyt0&feature=related) around the 8:15 mark.

Raguleader
03-04-2011, 08:58 AM
re: the bit about an A-10 no longer being a threat to tanks. Whether or not the 30mm gun can penetrate a tank's upper or lower armor (remember: The ground is hard, and bullets bounce. Fire enough of them just in front of or behind a vehicle, and you will bounce them up into the belly. The crews don't like that much. :D), I'd be willing to bet that a Hellfire missile or a 2,000 lb JDAM will still ruin the tank crew's day really quick. And they could do so before anybody told the tank crew that there was a fight on (effective range of a modern smart bomb is something like 30 miles. When you release it doing 600 knots from 30,000 feet up, that sucker has a while to glide before it smacks the ground.)

During Desert Storm, quite a few Iraqi T-72s found out that there was American armor nearby when Hellfires launched by M-2 Bradleys connected with them from a few miles out. Worth mentioning, that once the Hellfires are gone (they only carry a few of them on external launchers), the Bradleys become a lot less effective against tanks, although the 25mm Bushmaster will give the tank commander something to think about.

Also, while talking about .50 cal rounds and 20mm shells and 30mm shells, it's worth noting that there is more to a bullet than how big across it is. A 30mm cannon round from an A-10's Avenger cannon is rather long. A lot of its hitting force is from all that extra mass behind it compared to what a smaller, shorter round carries.

And while we're talking about sneaking up on tanks and climbing all over them with potatos and cans of paint, remember that those things can move at a pretty good clip. You can try to jump onto the 70 ton tank while it's rolling past at 30MPH, but I don't think I want to watch.

But yeah, to disable a tank? You just need a couple of spikes on the ground, to blow out the tires on the fuel truck. :D

Gray Ghost
03-04-2011, 09:34 AM
re: the bit about an A-10 no longer being a threat to tanks. Whether or not the 30mm gun can penetrate a tank's upper or lower armor (remember: The ground is hard, and bullets bounce. Fire enough of them just in front of or behind a vehicle, and you will bounce them up into the belly. The crews don't like that much. :D), I'd be willing to bet that a Hellfire missile or a 2,000 lb JDAM will still ruin the tank crew's day really quick. And they could do so before anybody told the tank crew that there was a fight on (effective range of a modern smart bomb is something like 30 miles. When you release it doing 600 knots from 30,000 feet up, that sucker has a while to glide before it smacks the ground.)

During Desert Storm, quite a few Iraqi T-72s found out that there was American armor nearby when Hellfires launched by M-2 Bradleys connected with them from a few miles out. Worth mentioning, that once the Hellfires are gone (they only carry a few of them on external launchers), the Bradleys become a lot less effective against tanks, although the 25mm Bushmaster will give the tank commander something to think about.

Also, while talking about .50 cal rounds and 20mm shells and 30mm shells, it's worth noting that there is more to a bullet than how big across it is. A 30mm cannon round from an A-10's Avenger cannon is rather long. A lot of its hitting force is from all that extra mass behind it compared to what a smaller, shorter round carries...

Minor nitpicks to a bunch of interesting points you bring up: the Bradley will be firing TOW missiles, not Hellfires. Alternately, the Hellfires will be fired by the AH-64 Apache helicopter, not the Bradley. The wiki does support T-72 kills "at close range" by the Bradley's 25 mm M242 utilizing M791 APDS-T ammunition with saboted tungsten penetrators.

Scumpup
03-04-2011, 09:50 AM
That reminds me of a conversation on a sci-fi board about that scene, which led to someone linking to a tank forum. The tank guys were talking about how weak that made those scout walkers compared to a modern tank, and mentioned an incident in Europe where a tank was hit by a train. The train was derailed, the tank lost its treads, but the tank was otherwise undamaged. Logs won't cut it. If you think about it, trying to destroy a tank with logs is a lot like trying to crush a walnut with marshmallows - wood's a lot softer than tank armor.

I saw that movie in first release with a friend who was in the USMC. His disgust knew no bounds. He figured the USMC with 20th century weapons could have exterminated those "f*&@ing teddy bears" most ricky-tick and with few or no casualties of their own. The Imperial forces do seem to have uniformly lousy marksmanship and a penchant for fielding fighting vehicles that are the first word in both fragility and clumsiness.

smithsb
03-04-2011, 10:00 AM
re: the bit about an A-10 no longer being a threat to tanks. Whether or not the 30mm gun can penetrate a tank's upper or lower armor (remember: The ground is hard, and bullets bounce. Fire enough of them just in front of or behind a vehicle, and you will bounce them up into the belly. The crews don't like that much. :D), I'd be willing to bet that a Hellfire missile or a 2,000 lb JDAM will still ruin the tank crew's day really quick. And they could do so before anybody told the tank crew that there was a fight on (effective range of a modern smart bomb is something like 30 miles. When you release it doing 600 knots from 30,000 feet up, that sucker has a while to glide before it smacks the ground.)

During Desert Storm, quite a few Iraqi T-72s found out that there was American armor nearby when Hellfires launched by M-2 Bradleys connected with them from a few miles out. Worth mentioning, that once the Hellfires are gone (they only carry a few of them on external launchers), the Bradleys become a lot less effective against tanks, although the 25mm Bushmaster will give the tank commander something to think about.

Also, while talking about .50 cal rounds and 20mm shells and 30mm shells, it's worth noting that there is more to a bullet than how big across it is. A 30mm cannon round from an A-10's Avenger cannon is rather long. A lot of its hitting force is from all that extra mass behind it compared to what a smaller, shorter round carries.

And while we're talking about sneaking up on tanks and climbing all over them with potatos and cans of paint, remember that those things can move at a pretty good clip. You can try to jump onto the 70 ton tank while it's rolling past at 30MPH, but I don't think I want to watch.

But yeah, to disable a tank? You just need a couple of spikes on the ground, to blow out the tires on the fuel truck. :D

Not Hellfires, TOW missiles are fired from Bradleys. These are wired guided with a range up to 3750 meters. In actual use during Desert Storm, the Bradley guys would pass off tank targets to the accompanying M1A1 tanks at extreme ranges. TOW missiles are nowhere as fast getting to the target as a sabot round from a 120mm cannon. The Bradley gunner (who would have to keep the crosshairs on target for the entire flight) did not want to see the target swiviling his main gun toward the Bradley while waiting for the TOW to get out to full range. Another factor (probably the biggest) was the visibility. It was howling rain/wind/smoke during a good part of the action (a real crappy winter). At extreme ranges, losing sight of the target in the smoke and rain meant a miss with a TOW. If the M1A1 had a fix in the sight, the target was going to be hit.

Might as well throw in an anecdoted from the war. I was in the G$/J4 ammo section. One function was to monitor different levels of certain ammo items. Iraq had around 5,000 armored vehicles (tanks, APCs, SP artillery, etc...). Based on the Ruskies invading West Germany, some planners had come up with a figure (pulled out of a butt as it turned out) that it would take 7 rounds of tank killing ammo to destroy a single armored vehicle. I guess they anticipated misses, repairable damage, defective ammo - who knows. So we tracked how many Hellfires, TOWs, 120mm sabot and HEAT rounds, Navy/Air Force laser/TV guided missiles, and Copperhead 155mm rounds (and some others munitions). Every Division commander assumed his forces would have to take on the entire Iraqi armored force; the Air Force A-10s, F-15/16s, B-52s would miss everything plus you couldn't take their word actual damages, the artillery and MLRS rounds with the HEDP munitions wouldn't do any damage, etc... for other justifications. We got up to a ratio of 43 tank killers/to each Iraqi armored vehicle before saner head turned off the pipeline. There were several fully loaded ammo ships floating around the gulf that just returned to the states with the cargo intact after the war. Actual kill ratio was less than two rounds to kill an armored vehicle. The A-10s were very effective after some fine tuning based on analysis of Iraqi deception practices, MLRS, B-52s, and artillery destroyed tanks/APCs just fine. Many US/Brit tank units hit 90% first round kills, I believe in the after action reports that every unit was above 60%. You just could not believe the amount of ammo leftover that had to be reprocessed and shipped back. I've got a bunch of other stories as well.

In spite of some claims above, the 30mm DU round from an A-10 will score mobility kills on any tank in existence. The rounds don't bounce at the attack angle an A-10 will use. You just can't protect the top and engines without a monster weight penality. It will outright kill anything from the Soviet era. The latest Russian tanks might not be completely destroyed but I'd place my bets on the A-10 still.

SenorBeef
03-04-2011, 11:07 AM
In spite of some claims above, the 30mm DU round from an A-10 will score mobility kills on any tank in existence. The rounds don't bounce at the attack angle an A-10 will use. You just can't protect the top and engines without a monster weight penality. It will outright kill anything from the Soviet era. The latest Russian tanks might not be completely destroyed but I'd place my bets on the A-10 still.

The T-72B turret roof has an equivelant to about 300mm of steel armor against kinetic energy penetrators, whereas the GAU-7 at 500m does about 70mm of penetration. It's hard to get armor values for the top of the tank hull, but I doubt it drops below 70mm. You can get mobility kills (thrown tracks) and probably some engine kills if you hit an intake or something, but the A-10 hasn't been able to penetrate turret roofs or most of the upper body of a tank for a while. This doesn't account for the fact that most of the attack vectors the A-10 will use will hit the armor off-angle, effectively increasing armor depth.

Of course it has an array of weapons that can kill tanks from any aspect, and the 30mm cannon is still useful against light armor, can potentially cripple or kill tanks with a lucky shot, and is one scary motherfucker, but it won't routinely penetrate the top armor of tanks like it could with 60s era soviet tanks.

BMalion
03-04-2011, 12:16 PM
... The Imperial forces do seem to have uniformly lousy marksmanship and a penchant for fielding fighting vehicles that are the first word in both fragility and clumsiness.

I blame the contractors.

Sailboat
03-04-2011, 12:53 PM
The T-72B turret roof has an equivelant to about 300mm of steel armor against kinetic energy penetrators

Really? The roof is equivalent to a foot of armor? Yow.

SenorBeef
03-04-2011, 01:08 PM
Modern armors have all sorts of fancy layering and high tech metallurgy going on, which gives them different degrees of protection for a certain thickness and also different effectiveness against kinestic energy vs HEAT penetrators. So typically armor values are translated into their equivelant values in rolled homogenous steel armor against those weapon types, which makes it easier to understand and compare. It doesn't mean that the actual thickness of the armor was a foot - but that it would give the protection equivelant of a foot of armor against a kinetic penetrator.

Modern tanks are crazy tough, but of course modern anti-armor weapons are extremely powerful.

Lumpy
03-04-2011, 01:17 PM
I was researching some of the smaller anti-tank guns fielded at the start of WW2, like the 25mm Hotchkiss or the 37mm Bofors. Although they were respectable weapons at the start of the war, they were considered obsolete against the more powerful tanks at the end of the war. I gather then that automatic cannon, and especially depleted uranium penetrators, has made an enormous difference.

SenorBeef
03-04-2011, 01:20 PM
The metallurgy of the rounds is the more important part - as I said earlier in the thread, hitting a tank impervious to the rounds you're using over and over doesn't have a strong cummulative effect.

But advances were made in penetrator design and material that allowed them to be harder, heavier, have a lower cross section (hence greater force on a smaller point) and attain higher velocities. So that 30mm on the A-10 can penetrate about as much armor as the 76.2mm gun the T-34 used. But of course armor technology has improved right along with it.

Darth Panda
03-04-2011, 01:42 PM
If you can destroy a normal gun by putting your finger in there, you could probably disable a tank's cannon by lodging your head in there.

ExTank
03-04-2011, 06:39 PM
20mm AP will probably penetrate the engine compartment (left and right rear) and do damage to the engine/transmission, possibly enough to earn a "mobility kill."

"Hiding" from an Abrams is not impossible, but the Thermal Imaging System on the main sight, along with the Commander's Independent Thermal Viewer, can make it difficult for a normal-body-temperature person to hide, unless they have total concealment. So the "hide-until-they-drive-by-and-then-jump-out-and-shoot-them," while risky, is possible.

The main sight sits in a small-ish box right in front of the tank commander's cupola, and is subject to a soft-kill (rifle bullet through the sight); this could possibly take out the daylight sight as well as the Thermal Sight. It does have thick metal shutters that can be closed, but I think a .50 cal would go through those.

However...the Gunner's Auxiliary Sight, while purely optical in nature (and no good at night without some form of illumination), is still very accurate. And well protected inside the main gun mantle.

The back of the turret is rather thinly armored (compared to the rest of the turret and front glacis) and is the 120mm ammunition stowage compartment; the top rear has the blow-out panels. The 120mm ammo is self-consuming (think very heavy duty, chemically treated cardboard) and burns very energetically. A 20mm incendiary could set the 120mm ammo on fire, and the crew might want to bail out if that should happen, but there probably wouldn't be some sort of catastrophic, crew-killing explosion due to the armored, reinforced bulhead between the ammo compartment and the crew compartment. If the armored door should happen to be open when the ammo goes...scratch one crew.

You'd need 20mm+ to damage the track; it's pretty heavy stuff. Sticky-bombs, ala Saving Private Ryan, or other forms of IEDs, might work, if you can get close enough without getting smoked, or get them to drive directly over the IED. Again, this would only be a mobility kill. A sufficiently strong IED might also have some secondary concussive effects on the crew.

The Molotovs are dangerous, to both the tank and the thrower. The thrower has to get close enough to hit, which can be problematic, and if it does hit, the fire sucks up oxygen, which asphyxiates the crew.

However, the Abrams series A1 and later have an NBC Overpressure system that takes bleed-air from the engine, chills it, and runs it into the turret under pressure (I forget how much, but it is enough to create a pressure differential bewteen inside and outside air, and keep contaminants out). Since the Abrams has an air-gobbling turbine engine, a Molotov attack would have to be severe enough to snuff the engine in order to suffocate the crew.

The Abrams have two different smoke concealment systems: smoke grenade launchers and the smoke screen generator. The grenade launchers (one on each side of the turret) hold 12 smoke grenades, and fire up and forward in volleys of six, to create a smoke screen. The smoke screen generator sprays a fine mist of fuel on the engine exhaust grill, and makes lots of smoke very fast (remember: air-guzzling turbine engine, and what goes in must come out).

That's all I have for now. More later, maybe.

clairobscur
03-04-2011, 07:43 PM
I saw that movie in first release with a friend who was in the USMC. His disgust knew no bounds. He figured the USMC with 20th century weapons could have exterminated those "f*&@ing teddy bears" most ricky-tick and with few or no casualties of their own. The Imperial forces do seem to have uniformly lousy marksmanship and a penchant for fielding fighting vehicles that are the first word in both fragility and clumsiness.


Not surprising given that in these movies, fighters use a technology approximatively equivalent to their WWII counterparts, except in space.

Chronos
03-04-2011, 10:17 PM
"Hiding" from an Abrams is not impossible, but the Thermal Imaging System on the main sight, along with the Commander's Independent Thermal Viewer, can make it difficult for a normal-body-temperature person to hide, unless they have total concealment. So the "hide-until-they-drive-by-and-then-jump-out-and-shoot-them," while risky, is possible.The tank's sensor systems are very good for seeing people, but don't do much of anything for recognizing them. It's no problem if you're on a battlefield in the middle of nowhere where anyone not wearing a US uniform can be assumed to be a target, but if you're in a populated place, there's no easy way to tell the difference between the people you're trying to protect and the people you're protecting them from.

ExTank
03-05-2011, 12:09 AM
The tank's sensor systems are very good for seeing people, but don't do much of anything for recognizing them. It's no problem if you're on a battlefield in the middle of nowhere where anyone not wearing a US uniform can be assumed to be a target, but if you're in a populated place, there's no easy way to tell the difference between the people you're trying to protect and the people you're protecting them from.

True enough, but you'd be surprised at the resolution on an Abram's Thermal Imaging System. Things like helmets, and rifles, stand out quite readily at 500 meters. Further, if the weather conditions are right. Precipitation, airborne dust, and heat (say, 90+ F) tend to degrade resolution.

You can easily make out vehicle details, and tell the difference between a Hummer and a Ford Expedition and a GMC Suburban at 500-1,000 meters (assuming the viewer can distinguish them by shape to start with, of course).

And the target's behavior would also suggest motive; a furtive type, trying to hide, might imply nefarious intent. Achmed the goat-herd, standing out in the open, is less likely a threat.

Of course, a clever enemy can take advantage of that.

Another thing I didn't mention earlier (since I was trying to catalog way to take out an Abrams) is that, acoustically, the M-1 is fairly stealthy for a tank, especially in open terrain that minimizes echo. There were reports in Gulf War I of Abrams rolling right up on (less than 500 meters) dug in Iraqis, and they never heard more than an faint, indistinct rumble from the treads. Of course, this was open terrain (desert), soft sand, and low humidity.

Thermally, it stands out like a magnesium flare on a moonless, overcast night.

Gray Ghost
03-05-2011, 12:52 AM
The tank's sensor systems are very good for seeing people, but don't do much of anything for recognizing them. It's no problem if you're on a battlefield in the middle of nowhere where anyone not wearing a US uniform can be assumed to be a target, but if you're in a populated place, there's no easy way to tell the difference between the people you're trying to protect and the people you're protecting them from.

I believe Arnaud-Amaury, the Abbot of Citeaux, covered this, back in the 13th Century...

In all seriousness, not much man portable is harming an Abrams short of ATGMs, RPGs, satchel charges, or the like. It'll be rough on anyone carrying anything that resembles any of those things---like a camera (http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Military/2010/0406/Video-of-Iraqi-journalists-killings-Is-WikiLeaks-a-security-threat)---but as ExTank points out, within their field-of-view, the assorted optics are good enough to distinguish those things within their engagement envelope. Usually.

I'd always thought a buttoned-up tank was essentially blind; hence why infantry hated getting anywhere in front of the things, for fear of being run over. Using them for cover is something else entirely. Nowadays, add getting hit with debris from detonating reactive armor to the joys of close work with tanks. To try and answer Lumpy's question, I recall reading that during the thunder run into Baghdad during OIF, an Abrams was lost due to repeated RPG hits to the rear, causing a fire which required the crew to egress. I don't know what kind of RPGs they were---7s, 14s or 29s. The account is detailed in the book, Thunder Run.

Gray Ghost
03-05-2011, 01:04 AM
Further, the following document on Armor composition for Russian and NATO MBTs may be of interest. I have no idea if it's true or close to it, but it was an interesting read. Armor Basics (http://www.scribd.com/doc/6032093/Armor-Basics) (Scribd document, may require account to copy.)

JoelUpchurch
03-05-2011, 02:51 AM
If you could catch a tank when it was sitting still is would what a quart of crazy glue in the treads would do? Actually I don't think it wouldn't take a quart, but you would have to get it in the right place and I doubt they would give me a chance to do proper surface prep.

Whack-a-Mole
03-05-2011, 03:41 AM
Nowadays, add getting hit with debris from detonating reactive armor to the joys of close work with tanks.

I thought Abrams used Chobham armor which is not reactive (at least in the usual sense so won't hurt anyone nearby).

Fish Cheer
03-05-2011, 05:12 AM
However, the Abrams series A1 and later have an NBC Overpressure system that takes bleed-air from the engine, chills it, and runs it into the turret under pressure (I forget how much, but it is enough to create a pressure differential bewteen inside and outside air, and keep contaminants out). But that bleed-air is initially coming from the outside, too, isn't it? Is it HEPA-filtered or something?

SenorBeef
03-05-2011, 07:44 AM
I thought Abrams used Chobham armor which is not reactive (at least in the usual sense so won't hurt anyone nearby).

You can attach reactive armor modules on top of the main armor of the tank. They're not armor in the traditional sense so much as active point defense systems.

smithsb
03-05-2011, 11:07 AM
I thought Abrams used Chobham armor which is not reactive (at least in the usual sense so won't hurt anyone nearby).

If you go way up thread, the Abrams uses some on the side skirts. Other tanks use differing amounts and configurations.

ExTank
03-05-2011, 12:15 PM
But that bleed-air is initially coming from the outside, too, isn't it? Is it HEPA-filtered or something?

That bleed air is is pulled off after the combustion stage of the turbine, and it burns off something like 99% of chemical contaminants. The cooler/filter system takes care of 99% of that 1%. So you're breathing filterted, chilled turbine exhaust. The engine pulls more air through than it needs to combust the fuel, so there's plenty of O2 to suck off and use for crew purposes.

When I say "chilled," it's not air conditioning by any stretch of the imagination. But when it's 120* F inside the turret, even 80* F air feels blissfull.

So a fire attack of some sort would have to suck up enough air to snuff the engine in order to suffocate the crew.

Another way to take down an Abrams is water. The engine air passes through three particle separators: the mesh screens over the air intakes, a pre-cleaner which is an oblong box (roughly 3' x 2' x 8") containing a stack of several thin metal plates with air holes in them, offset one from the other, and finally, there's three large paper filters called "V-Packs." Get those wet enough and you'll stall the engine out.

Most "water casualties" are self-inflicted by none-too-bright tank commanders telling their drivers to take less-than-optiimal routes. On my first deployment to Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany, my TC had me drive through what he thought was just a big puddle. Turns it it was a very big puddle, and deep, too, with delusions of being a small pond.

Fortunately I was going fast enough that when we hit, it displaced a lot of water, and we were through and out before it could surge back and fill the hole created by our entry. Otherwise, it would've had definitely surged back high enough to suck water into the engine and soak the V-packs.

I know this because some knucklehead in Third Plattoon tried the same thing, but wasn't going fast enough to clear the puddle before the backsurge swamped him.

So the OP could outfit his suicide squads combatants with large water balloons and super-soakers. Get enough water on the left-center-top of the hull, and you have one stalled Abrams.

Chronos
03-05-2011, 01:44 PM
In all seriousness, not much man portable is harming an Abrams short of ATGMs, RPGs, satchel charges, or the like. It'll be rough on anyone carrying anything that resembles any of those things---like a camera---but as ExTank points out, within their field-of-view, the assorted optics are good enough to distinguish those things within their engagement envelope. Usually. OK, so you have two guys, one civilian carrying a bucket of paint on his way to paint a house, and one guerrilla carrying a bucket of paint who, as he walks past the tank, throws it all over the sensors and periscopes. Which one do you shoot before he gets close enough, and why?

ExTank
03-05-2011, 02:07 PM
OK, so you have two guys, one civilian carrying a bucket of paint on his way to paint a house, and one guerrilla carrying a bucket of paint who, as he walks past the tank, throws it all over the sensors and periscopes. Which one do you shoot before he gets close enough, and why?

Tell both to stay the fuck away (and emphasize it by pointing large, black, fully-automatic, belt-fed bullet-chuckers at them). The one who doesn't run away in terror but instead screams "DIE! DIE! DIE!" as he runs at you with the bucket of paint is your enemy.

!BLAM! Problem solved.

Seriously, why would the tank crew sit still long enough for someone to get in range with something like that (much less an effective AT weapons of some sort)? Do you seriously think tank crews (military combatants) in a hostile/war zone are going to be idiots? Not establish a perimeter? Not stay on alert/watch? Let any schmuck just diddy-bop into effective range?

Not to say it can't happen; in an insurgeny/counter-insurgency type conflict, sheep and goats get hard to tell apart. But a sufficiently alert/paranoid crew of soldiers are not likely to get caught flat-footed by some mook with a bucket of paint strolling by their vehicle within effective paint-throwing range.

Telperion
03-05-2011, 02:17 PM
If you could catch a tank when it was sitting still is would what a quart of crazy glue in the treads would do? Actually I don't think it wouldn't take a quart, but you would have to get it in the right place and I doubt they would give me a chance to do proper surface prep.

I doubt it would do anything much, since superglue has a low shear strength and the tank has an enormous amount of torque. Tossing a bag of thermite into the works though, that might work. Even if it probably wouldn't be able to melt through the armour it could fuse the mechanical parts together and make it near impossible to repair in the field.

Hennessy
03-05-2011, 02:18 PM
Buckets of honey... Come on..Come ON...COME ON!!! ABORT ABORT!!

Lumpy
03-05-2011, 04:11 PM
And the target's behavior would also suggest motive; a furtive type, trying to hide, might imply nefarious intent. Achmed the goat-herd, standing out in the open, is less likely a threat.

Of course, a clever enemy can take advantage of that.Goat bomb; hmm...

Chronos
03-05-2011, 04:39 PM
Not to say it can't happen; in an insurgeny/counter-insurgency type conflict, sheep and goats get hard to tell apart.Except that most of the wars we find ourselves in nowadays seem to be insurgency-type conflicts. When you bring your tanks into the city of a putative ally, you can't just order everyone out of the city for the sake of your tanks. If you're going to go to measures like that, then you don't really even need the tanks at all: Just warn everyone to evacuate the city, and then send the B52s in to flatten the place. Contrariwise, if you intend to leave it as a functional city, then you can't stop the people just going about their daily routines.

ExTank
03-05-2011, 05:25 PM
Lumpy didn't specify a terrain in his OP; the tank/Cavalry doctrine I was brought up with (admittedly 20-years old) didn't put tanks in close-quarters/urban terrain for counter-insurgency "peacekeeping."

Even so, I doubt that even U.S. Infantry squads at checkpoints in Baghdad let just anyone stroll up on them without exerting some sort of control over the situation. As we well know, that doesn't always work with a suicidally determined adversary.

If you do put a tank as a heavy-firepower backup at some sort of urban checkpoint, it's going to be great big fat immobile target; tough, yes, with lots of firepower, but a large stationary target nonetheless. With my Cavalry background, sacrificing mobility is a cardinal sin, right up there with screwing the Commander's virgin daughter.

Satchel charges, RPG attacks from hides, etc., can all take a vehicle crew by surprise, or wear them down under the draining tension of having to be constantly aware of everything in their immediate environment.

But since Lumpy also didn't specify what type of scenario his game would take place in, it is altogether possible under the "Might Makes Right" rule that yes, the occupiers of a city can order its inhabitants to alter their daily routines to such an extent as, "Under penalty of death, do NOT approach closer than 100 meters to a military checkpoint unless ordered to do so by said checkpoint."

Pushkin
03-05-2011, 05:56 PM
For the OP, isn't there a "banned book" of some sort, written by a US citizen, that outlines how you can take down big American tanks without the tools a soldier might otherwise rely on? I can't remember the title, and I don't think it's the oft mentioned Anarchist's Cookbook. Worth Googling for if you're better with search terms than I am.

A friend who served on M48s in Vietnam did this too. They called it 'back scratching'

It's mentioned in a lot of the documentaries on tank warfare I've seen.

The Wikipedia article for the 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars in Korea (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8th_King's_Royal_Irish_Hussars#Korean_War) mentions the tankers' response to the Chinese infantry trying to overrun them;

On one occasion, the Centurion tanks of the 8th were swamped by Chinese soldiers who were attempting to prise open the hatches to throw grenades inside. The response of the Irish Hussars was to turn the turrets of their tanks towards each other, and "hose" the enemy off with their Besa machine guns. On their return to the British Lines these tanks were said to have "ran red with the blood of dead Chinese."

Wouldn't a Molotov cocktail impair their vision? I mean fire suppression system aside that can't last forever and its not like they are hard to make or use. I think a barrage of them would eventually suffocate the crew or blind the tank to the point it wont move

The thread is starting to sound like a guide on surviving an attack by Daleks (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byoumsz4RvU) :p

Lumpy
03-05-2011, 05:59 PM
Lumpy didn't specify a terrain in his OP; the tank/Cavalry doctrine I was brought up with (admittedly 20-years old) didn't put tanks in close-quarters/urban terrain for counter-insurgency "peacekeeping."FTR, We were discussing a cross-country journey through a "semi-apocalyptic"* American midwest.With my Cavalry background, sacrificing mobility is a cardinal sin, right up there with screwing the Commander's virgin daughter.If your Cavalry background includes screwing the Commander's virgin daughter, you ought to tell us about it sometime. :D

*For those who careOk, what the heck is "semi-apocalyptic"? We're still hashing out the details but the baseline scenerio is that terrorists turned loose a genetically engineered plague which almost, but not quite, brought down civilization. A provisional government mostly run by the military has restored civil order on most of the East Coast, and has at least the formal alligiance of some enclaves on the west coast. In between, a chain of military forts and depots in the middle of a chaotic midwest controlled by local factions of varying degrees of friendliness or hostility. The idea is that our tank is part of a convoy that was sent cross country to "show the flag" by some genius with too many stars on his shirt. We can (almost) always obtain enough fuel, and ammunition is plentiful (though not limitless), and we will even have a few opportunities to obtain spare parts for the engines and tracks. The one thing that is not going to be available is any way to repair damaged armor; whatever damage we take is there to stay.

chacoguy
03-05-2011, 07:18 PM
In that scenario, you're biggest limitation is going to be the wear and tear on the tracks and the drive train. Tanks aren't built for long road trips. As far as protection, you should survive pretty much anything short of a really big IED.

ExTank
03-05-2011, 07:41 PM
If your Cavalry background includes screwing the Commander's virgin daughter, you ought to tell us about it sometime. :D

Unfortunately (or, perhaps, fortunately!) I have no personal experience in this regard. And no Cavalry background is required; general military will do just fine.


*For those who careOk, what the heck is "semi-apocalyptic"? We're still hashing out the details but the baseline scenerio is that terrorists turned loose a genetically engineered plague which almost, but not quite, brought down civilization. A provisional government mostly run by the military has restored civil order on most of the East Coast, and has at least the formal alligiance of some enclaves on the west coast. In between, a chain of military forts and depots in the middle of a chaotic midwest controlled by local factions of varying degrees of friendliness or hostility. The idea is that our tank is part of a convoy that was sent cross country to "show the flag" by some genius with too many stars on his shirt. We can (almost) always obtain enough fuel, and ammunition is plentiful (though not limitless), and we will even have a few opportunities to obtain spare parts for the engines and tracks. The one thing that is not going to be available is any way to repair damaged armor; whatever damage we take is there to stay.

I like the concept. May I offer some suggestions?

1. The crew picked for this tank should be "elite," as such things go. "Best-of-the-best," and all that.

2. Fuel and other petroleum products are going to be the biggest concern; Abrams are Capital-G Gas Guzzlers, and require near-constant top-up of TurboShaft synthetic turbine oil, and you'll also n eed some 30W for the tranny, suspension, and final drive. You'll either have to have fuel-depots/supply points in friendly hands every 250 miles or so, or a couple of fuel trucks in the convoy.

3. Parts will be another big concern. I'd recommend one complete FUP (Full-Up Pack) which is an engine/transmission combo. Lots of spare ammo, too. And a maintenance crew as part of the convoy as well.

4. Ammo loadout: unless there's something you're not telling us, typical AT munitions (Sabot, HEAT) probably won't be as necessary. You'd probably load out more general and anti-personnel munitions (HEP, Beehive/flechette).

5. Personal arms: most tank crews are armed with a sidearm (1911 .45ACP in my day, M9 9mm nowadays), with a single M-16 issued as a "crew" weapon. I'd up that to an M9 for everyone, an M-4 for the driver, gunner, and commander as well for dismount, and an M-16w/M203 grenade launcher for the loader. Change the loader's MG from the vehicle-mount only M240 to a hybrid M-249 SAW that can be used either vehicular and dismounted.

6. Cumulative damage to armor: I'd say you'd need 100mm AT guns or higher to actually stress the armor enough to worry about "cumulative damage" to the armor. RPG-29s, AT-4 (both Swedish and Soviet models) for rockets to "cumulatively" damage the armor. That's assuming hits on the thickest armor (front turret and front hull).

Raguleader
03-05-2011, 07:59 PM
The thread is starting to sound like a guide on surviving an attack by Daleks (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byoumsz4RvU) :p

What if I'm at the top of a flight of stairs? Tanks can't go up stairs, right? :D

In regards to the road trip and the lost armor, you can always try Hillbilly Armor as a sort of duck tape repair. The stuff won't be as good as dedicated armor by a longshot, and if you use it the wrong way, it may actually be dangerous to you, but I've heard of welders coming up with some clever supplementary armor solutions, such as cage armor, which basically projects the outer shell of the armor out a foot or two, in order to prematurely set off shaped anti-armor warheads before they can contact the actual armor. The effectiveness of it depends a lot on what the bad guys are shooting at you, I don't think it has much effect at all on Explosively Formed Penetrators or kinetic penetrator rounds.

But yeah, as far as disabling a tank without dedicated anti-tank weapons, it's mostly just going to come down to a shovel and a saw, digging tank traps and camouflaging them against detection. Mind you, many things tanks can get themselves stuck in, other tanks, or even dedicated tank extraction vehicles, can pull them right back out of (kinda makes you wonder if tanks getting bogged in deep puddles and the like happens a lot :D)

Oh, and those dedicated tank extraction vehicles are built on tank chassis themselves, as I recall they remove the turret and put some cranes and other tools on them. I wouldn't bet on them being much easier to take out than a tank itself would, aside from the much more modest firepower at their direct disposal.

ramel
03-06-2011, 02:10 AM
There's a picture of an M1 that got penetrated below the skirt armour by a 14.5mm AP round.

Also the sighting systems and sensors are vulnerable to anything 20mm or over.

Raguleader
03-06-2011, 02:37 AM
There's a picture of an M1 that got penetrated below the skirt armour by a 14.5mm AP round.

Also the sighting systems and sensors are vulnerable to anything 20mm or over.

Which mind you, is still a pretty big freaking gun, especially compared to anything that infantry tend to carry. Do any modern armies even issue anti tank rifles any more?

JoelUpchurch
03-06-2011, 05:05 AM
I doubt it would do anything much, since superglue has a low shear strength and the tank has an enormous amount of torque. Tossing a bag of thermite into the works though, that might work. Even if it probably wouldn't be able to melt through the armour it could fuse the mechanical parts together and make it near impossible to repair in the field.

Most of my experience is with bonding aluminum to aluminum, but I'm sure there is some adhesive that would strong enough, but I don't know if there is anything that would cure fast enough.

Lumpy
03-06-2011, 08:36 AM
You'll either have to have fuel-depots/supply points in friendly hands every 250 miles or so, or a couple of fuel trucks in the convoy.We'll have a few tanker trucks (can you say "highly flammable target"?) and the assumption is that we'll be able to get more supplies as we go along (and of course, to assume makes an ass out of u and me)4. Ammo loadout: unless there's something you're not telling us, typical AT munitions (Sabot, HEAT) probably won't be as necessary. You'd probably load out more general and anti-personnel munitions (HEP, Beehive/flechette).There are some bases out there run by colonels of somewhat dubious loyalty, plus all those people claiming to be the Freestate of Cumberland or such. We're taking some AT just in case.

ramel
03-06-2011, 12:10 PM
Which mind you, is still a pretty big freaking gun, especially compared to anything that infantry tend to carry. Do any modern armies even issue anti tank rifles any more?

Yes, but they're not called anti tank rifles any more. They're called anti-materiel rifles.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-materiel_rifle

Lumpy
03-06-2011, 02:45 PM
Which mind you, is still a pretty big freaking gun, especially compared to anything that infantry tend to carry. Do any modern armies even issue anti tank rifles any more?

Yes, but they're not called anti tank rifles any more. They're called anti-materiel rifles.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-materiel_rifleOr not listed in Wiki's article, the Mag-Fed (Anzio) 20mm (http://www.anzioironworks.com/MAG-FED-20MM-RIFLE.htm) I just love the picture comparing it to a "mere" .50BMG rifle!

smithsb
03-06-2011, 06:20 PM
We'll have a few tanker trucks (can you say "highly flammable target"?) and the assumption is that we'll be able to get more supplies as we go along (and of course, to assume makes an ass out of u and me)There are some bases out there run by colonels of somewhat dubious loyalty, plus all those people claiming to be the Freestate of Cumberland or such. We're taking some AT just in case.

The fuel is Jet A, a.k.a. JP-8. Not all that flammable. The tankers have a coating that is self-sealing. You can stand there with Ak-47s and blaze away. No leaks other than a drop or two from each bullet.

Spiny Norman
03-06-2011, 09:19 PM
I was researching some of the smaller anti-tank guns fielded at the start of WW2, like the 25mm Hotchkiss or the 37mm Bofors. Although they were respectable weapons at the start of the war, they were considered obsolete against the more powerful tanks at the end of the war. I gather then that automatic cannon, and especially depleted uranium penetrators, has made an enormous difference.

I rather liked the derisive German nickname for the Pak36 37mm anti-tank gun - "Heeresanklopfgeraet", roughly translated to "Army device for knocking politely". Really boils down everything that's not to like about an underpowered gun - it does nothing but announce your presence.

Raguleader
03-07-2011, 05:06 AM
I rather liked the derisive German nickname for the Pak36 37mm anti-tank gun - "Heeresanklopfgeraet", roughly translated to "Army device for knocking politely". Really boils down everything that's not to like about an underpowered gun - it does nothing but announce your presence.

Have I ever mentioned the sheer amount of love I have for the German language's ability to make truly impressive compound words?

Jophiel
03-07-2011, 10:01 AM
I watched "The Beast" last night based on this thread and now I have a question. Since it's based on the film, I guess it's a "spoiler" but not much of one. I'll spoiler the details. It also fits into the "how long could a tank last?" theme.

The Russian tank is out and about and attacks the village and then gets lost. It spends a day driving down the valley, stops for the night and then much of another day continuing its trip before reaching the dead end. At this point, it's running completely on fumes. The helicopter comes and the commander tells his men to take its extra fuel and it shows them with four gas cans of 10 gallons (?) each. On this, it drives for the rest of the day, spends the night and then goes throughout the next day, making its way back to the pass where they're supposed to rendezvous with another 'copter for more fuel.

Is this reasonable fuel usage? 40gal (again, if the answer is that this is way off, let me know) doesn't seem like enough to drive an SUV around all day, much less a c.1980 Russian tank.

ExTank
03-07-2011, 01:00 PM
It's been a while since I've watched that movie, but if what you're saying is correct than I'd say no, that (small) amount of fuel would be insufficient, unless they took all the fuel from the 2nd helicopter (the one where everyone died from drinking the poisoned water at the water hole), in which case they may have had just enough to make it back to the opening of the valley.

ramel
03-07-2011, 02:09 PM
I watched "The Beast" last night based on this thread and now I have a question. Since it's based on the film, I guess it's a "spoiler" but not much of one. I'll spoiler the details. It also fits into the "how long could a tank last?" theme.

Is this reasonable fuel usage? 40gal (again, if the answer is that this is way off, let me know) doesn't seem like enough to drive an SUV around all day, much less a c.1980 Russian tank.

I love The Beast!! One of my favourite movies.

The off road range of a T-55 on internal fuel is gonna be around 250km. Its fuel tank has a capacity of around 960 litres. 40 US gallons is around 150 litres? So, it would add around 40km of range?

But anyway, that scene could have been them taking the last lot of fuel from the helicopter, not the total amount.

Jophiel
03-07-2011, 02:42 PM
I actually underestimated the days.

They went from the village and got lost on Day One. Day Two, they continue down the canyon and tie the guy to a rock. The guy gets rescued and spends the night in a cave with the Afghanis. Presumably, the tank spent that day driving. Day Three is when they reach the dead end and take the spare cans of fuel from the helicopter. On that fuel, they turned around and headed all the way back to where they got lost back on Day One.

There's some missing bits there -- we don't know the real distance traveled (only days), we see them loading the four gas cans but could claim there was more we didn't see and we don't know if they siphoned the remaining fuel from the helicopter (that was the original copter so it wouldn't have had extra fuel as they already took it).

But it doesn't seem like it would have been nearly enough. No big deal, it was still a good movie but I thought I'd ask.