An M1A2 Abrams tank in World War 2

Through the use of a timey-wimey ball I manage to transport an American M1A2 Abrams tank back to Normandy, mid-June 1944. It is fully crewed with experienced tank personnel, fully loaded for combat and fuelled to the brim.

I want to drive it straight to Berlin to blow Hitler’s balls off. Its operation range sadly falls rather short of Normandy to Berlin, so assume I’ve found a way to keep the old girl fuelled up. Bearing in mind I won’t be able to repair, restock (other than fuel) or refit in the middle of 1940’s Germany, is there anything the Germans could do to stop me?

Couldn’t they just blow you up with a large bomb?

keeping it fuelled won’t be a problem, the multi-fuel gas turbine in an Abrams can run on almost anything. Getting a big enough bomb close enough would be the issue but all they need is a mobility kill since you have no support you can’t get out and repair the tracks without being sitting ducks.

They had some rather large anti-tank mines in WW II, I suspect one of those would be enough to damage the tracks.

Well, you mention that it is just one. As German Colonel Von Kielst said:

“The German Army in fighting Russia is like an elephant attacking a host of ants. The elephant will kill thousands, perhaps even millions, of ants, but in the end their numbers will overcome him, and he will be eaten to the bone.”

Same here except by the “millions” part, I would expect a wild run like the Bismark at sea until a lowly air torpedo got it, even before reaching Berlin, the many hits taken by the tank by artillery, mines, tank traps and planes will finish it.

Without spare parts and skilled mechanics, its more likely that it would break down before it got out of Normandy than it would of getting to Berlin.

There are several rivers in the way, and no 1944 bridge that will hold an M-1 tank. And too deep, or too fast a current to drive over, even if the tank would work submerged. And if you had found a barge big enough to float across, you would be real vulnerable to any German weapons that could sink the barge under you.

P.S. Was Hitler even in Berlin at this time in 1944? I thought he was hiding out in his ‘Wolf’s Lair’ headquarters near Rastenburg, East Prussia. That’s where he was in July, when von Stauffenberg f’ed up his bomb attempt.

Railroad bridges?

I don’t think this is true. An Abrams is seriously heavy (around 140,000 pounds) but a Tiger II weighed more (around 154,000 pounds) and they were able to move around.

You could do what Sherman crews occasionally did to stop the much more heavily armored Panzers and Tigers: ram it. It would be hard to do with a Tiger because they were incredibly heavy (for the time) and thus incredibly slow, but a Panzer would do more than enough damage - especially to the tracks in a side-on collision.

A single Abrams really wouldn’t be that effective anyway. I know you specified that you found a way to fuel it, but the Abrams (unlike most modern tanks) relies on an extremely thirsty turbine engine that takes jet fuel. I imagine you could run it on kerosene for a short time, but probably not all the way to Berlin.


Anyway, stopping a single tank isn’t all that hard if you have an entire squad of engineers devoted to it. At some point it will need to cross a bridge, rail cutting or similar narrow path. At that point you simply drop a tank trap in front of it and behind it. Your tank is now stuck on the bridge. That alone neutralises it, but if you wanted to take it out fast you could then demolish the bridge under it.

The second point to note is that the physical armour of these tanks isn’t all that special compared to WWII tanks. The anti-rocket reactive armour is great, but it’s single use only. once it;s gone in a location, it’s gone forever. Repeated pummeling the tank with rockets will eventually take it out.

I’ve heard of this happening with T34’s- I didn’t realise Shermans employed the tactic as well.

BTW, for the OP there is a somewhat similar thread here if you haven’t already seen it.

It is from 2005.

From here:

“The engine can use a variety of fuels, including jet fuel, gasoline, diesel and Marine Diesel.”

They can run it just fine on diesel all the way to Berlin, but as othered have said, it will be taken out far before it gets there.

Anti-tank landmines can blow the tracks off an M1

Anti-tank landmines attached to a 500lb aircraft bomb can completely destroy an M1

Modern 25mm AP ammunition actually penetrated and disabled the rear armour of an M1, so mid to late war WW2 AT guns should have no trouble.

It’s not completely outside the realm of possibility that a long barrelled WW2 75mm or 88mm gun firing good ammunition from close range could penetrate the lower side armour of an M1

Dropping a bomb from an aircraft onto an M1 could destroy it.

Flame weapons could destroy an M1. Molotovs, Fougasses, Flame throwers maybe.

And despite common belief, tanks aren’t immune to artillery. Large fragments can knock out sensors and vision devices. Shockwaves can damage equipment. And a direct hit could cause serious damage.

I heard he only had one ball :wink:

Would there be any problems putting 1944 ammo in the Abrams or are we limited to whatever stock was in the tank to begin with?

I think everyone is missing something in the OP. Its 1944, the German Army has no air support.
" by mid 1944 it had virtually disappeared from the skies of Western Europe leaving the German Army to fight without air support."

So assume your tank has 1944 allied air support covering it, and presumably 1944 infantry in Armored Personal Carriers or whatever following it to try and provide cover as well.

Now it gets more interesting.

There were no caseless 120mm sabot and HEAT rounds in 1944. They could not replenish the ammo. So 42 rounds for the main gun, that’s it.

Because of the way the turbine exhaust is vented, M1s of all varieties are notoriously vulnerable to being shot from behind. Just like the Panzers.

And any of these, plus the Panzerfasut and bazooka-type anti-tank rockets, can destroy wheels or tracks. Thereby stopping the M1, uh, in its tracks, as it were.
Additionally, any of these could probably take out the gun if it hit the barrel.
Not that the 42 rounds are going to last that long between Normandy and Berlin.

Finally, the Germans don’t have to drive up and ram the M1 to stop it, or even take out the tracks/wheels. They just have to park a broken-down tank sideways across the entrance to whatever bridge the M1 is heading for.

I don’t know if that equates to “vulnerable enough that 1944 weaponry could take it out,” however. US crews discovered it was pretty hard to destroy mobility-killed M1s during the recent wars, including via deliberate point-blank attacks from another M-1’s main gun (presumably aimed at known vulnerable spots). IIRC, after several shots failed to penetrate, they settled for opening the hatch and dropping thermite inside.

If we can’t do it easily today against an undefended M-1, I dunno about Panzers doing it.