Farting in a Tank

What exactly happens when one of the tank crew cuts loose with a really bad one, say an overnight hardboiled egg and beer fart? If they’re simulating a combat situation, the rest of the crew couldn’t just open the hatch and jump out, could they? I guess they could open a vent but, in combat they’re likely to have worse gas outside. Maybe light a match?

Just live with it? Farts aren’t fatal.


From my experience with tankers, most find farts the pinnacle of comedy. Granted, I do not have enough time to have formed a true sample, but those I have worked with, the problem is getting them to stop farting, belching, or urinating in Gatorade bottles.
But to answer the question, the vehicles are not airtight, so there will be a couple minutes of unpleasantness, long enough for all affected to say something along the lines of “Sgt Schwartz, what crawled up your ass and died.” Then the scent is gone.

Sgt Schwartz

Are their modified airtight versions, or vents which can close to make it airtight, for use in situations where the enemy is using chemical or biological weapons? I would expect that that would be a priority.

Tankers are used to strange smells. Some main gun rounds for example smell used like stale urine when fired. For some reason it always reminds me of New York City.

Why can’t the army issue tank crews with a supply of fragrant air freshener to cover emergencies like this?

Lavender smells very nice.

Ahhhh…odious flatulence. That brings back some deeply repressed memories. :eek:


The M-1A1 and later series have an NBC “overpressure” system. What it does is takes bleed air directly off the turbine (after combustion, IIRC), runs it through a couple of chillers/filters, and rams it into the turret to create a pressure differential (more inside than outside).

The quickest way to get that NBC system fired up is to rip a loud, juicy one.

Misc. Trivia: the MRE’s Potatoes Au Gratin (nicknamed “Potatoes Au Rotten”) produced the most obnoxiously persistent flatulence.

I always thought that the spent rounds had a strong ammonia smell, myself.

Been rereading Heinlein’s Starship Troopers At the courtmartial scene, the commander says (to Hendricks, who disobeyed orders because stinging ants were crawling on him) that if he was lying in a nest of rattlesnakes and the “Freeze!” order came, he’d still be expected to lie still.

So I expect a tank crew would be expected to stand up to farts, which are arguably less annoying than rattlesnakes.
Heck, from what I’ve heard of military training, I’m surprised there isn’t a mandatory Tank Fart Drill.

Armored flatulence was once regarded at the height of humor. In the old M-60 and in the misbegotten Sheridan there was so much noise and so many strange smells (diesel exhaust, body odor, yesterdays breakfast, what have you) that it had to be a genuine, copper bottomed, iron bound ripper before even the perpetrator took much notice.

Ever have the old Scrambled Eggs and Ham C-rat unit? It was nicknamed “Rat Fart.” It was “pre-farted” in the sense that it already smelled like a fart when you opened it.

And some guys ate it!

I have nothing to add but would like to thank everyone who posted. This is the kind of information that can’t be found in a textbook.

While in the Navy back in the 70’s, I had the opportunity to make a day trip on a submarine. The whole trip lasted about 6 hours and about half of that time was spent underwater. It seems submariners take great pride in letting the smelliest foulest farts they can while under water. I spent most of the trip in the electronics compartment, not very big, warm, and lots of fans to circulate the latest offerings by those present.

Submariner #1: Guess how long I’ve been wearing this shirt.

Submariner #2: Since the start of the voyage.

Submariner #1: Nope! Two weeks before!
Das Boot

Priceless dialogue. And I fear that it may have been true.

And then, we vent Sans inboard!


Yup. Absolutely true. ‘Animal’ Andrews, for instance, was not known as ‘Animal’ for his large size and great strength, though he was indeed a very big man, and a very strong one. Nope… He was so known because as soon as we were underway, he’d cease bathing until some external event forced his hand - Like, return to port, or a dozen pissed-off shipmates with scouring brushes and detergent. It was always an epic battle, when he was cornered, but we got him clean! His record was 56 days before we lost our patience.

I don’t think they changed the Scrambled Eggs & Ham MRE recipe from the C-rats.

Eh. After thirty days of MREs twice a day (and T-rats to round it out) you sorta stopped tasting it and just shoveled it in. Any resemblance “going in” (odor- and texture-wise) to the “end product” was, I was assured, either merely coincidental or figments of our imagination.

Yeah, Ammonia = urine (right?) The HEP/HESH round was the worst.

Hmm. I thought the pee-filled bottles originated with long-distance drivers.

(What an educational thread!)

I can just picture a guy driving a tank through Iraq with a pine tree air freshener dangling from the rear-view mirror (if there is such a thing as a rear-view mirror…). Funny thought, though.