Russia invades Ukraine {2022-02-24}

Look at all those empty turret rings.

I dare any advocate of the Russian autoloader design to say with a straight face that the benefits outweigh the catastrophic flaws.

Frankly at this point I think the tank is going the way of cavalry as it concerns to war.

It looks like the tank turret in the video has a rocket plume from the ignition of the ammo contained within it.

Do we have reason to suspect that Abrams or other western tanks would perform the way the Russian tanks have? I don’t recall the US having similar problems in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I’m sure they wouldn’t pop their tops like champagne but they didn’t face javelins or drones in Afghanistan or Iraq.

This particular vulnerability is from the Russian autoloader design which doesn’t compartmentalize ammo (and propellant) from the crew space. US and other NATO designs separate ammo from the crew with a fireproof door and the ammo vault has pressure-release blowout panels to allow ammo fires to burn without jeopardizing the crew or the rest of the tank.

It’s more survivable. Dunno what else @DigitalC had in mind, but that would be the topic of a different thread anyway.

But, since the Russian T-72’s ammo can only detonate if there is an explosion strong enough within the crew compartment to trigger the ammo, wouldn’t such an explosion also kill the crew anyway? It’s hard to imagine a Ukrainian missile penetrating the compartment and causing an explosion powerful enough to set off tank shells inside, yet still somehow weak enough not to kill the crew.

In other words, the Russian “tank design flaw” may mean spectacular turret-throwing, but not actually make any difference as far as lives are concerned.

Well, there’s a stopped tank with nobody alive inside on one hand, and a tank that has been blown to smithereens in the other. I know in WWII they used to clean and patch up tanks and send them back into battle with a new crew after being damaged. I expect the same would happen today when there’s enough of the vehicle left.

Well, a penetrating hit in the ammo box of an Abrams may not reach into the crew compartment, so the tank and the crew live.

And a penatrating hit on a crew compartment doesn’t necessarily kill everyone instantly. AP damage is often localized, and in most tanks the crew isn’t all sitting in one spot.

OTOH, a crew-compartment contained runaway ammo fire is going to be 100% casualties, pre-cremated for your convenience.

I think that this is very situation-dependent. For example, when Canadian troops had been deployed to Afghanistan I believe that our military was, coincidentally and at roughly the same time, considering a reduction of our armoured capability. As the deployment to Afghanistan went on, Canadian troops continued to get killed and wounded in ever strengthened vehicles (starting with the Iltis (essentially a VW Thing or Kubelwagen) to the Mercedes G-Wagon, to armoured wheeled vehicles, and then we finally sent over Leopard tanks).

US and other allied tanks have a much better chance of survival. “Roomier” [for some degree of roomier] inside, little or no exposed explosives, fire suppression system. The russian crew is dead. Ugly description spoilered. sort of a black goo, stench in the desert was too much for me to handle. I was part of a recovery team after Desert Storm looking for remains of the DU penetrators. I lasted about an hour. At the time, the penetrator dimensions were classified, even the remaining portions whether complete or in chunks.

I’m pretty certain the answer is that they have their function, but are limited in their ability to carry the day without adequate air support. The same way air support alone may not be able to carry the day without boots/treads on the ground.

We should probably move to unmanned/drone tanks, shouldn’t we? Are there treaties preventing that? Or possibly insurmountable technical issues?

Without having to house people inside, I bet an unmanned tank the size of a small compact car could be pretty darn effective.

EDIT: Or is artillery strictly better? It’s at least way cheaper.

They are now saying this video was from 15 March. To tell you the truth, I’d give Putin’s left arm to see an actual unedited video. I have a bit of experience looking at these things and served in two warzones and I couldn’t even guess what are being counted as hits in this video other than the first one. Because of the erratic editing, I’m not even sure that both large explosions aren’t from the first vehicle burning off ammo after being destroyed. I know there are a lot of misses well off to both sides of the road.

This one is a really good example of the pop tops so someone who hasn’t seen it gets an idea of what happens with a hit to the ammo load.

The end of the video shows what looks like five burnt-out hulls along the road.

I’ve seen an analysis of this video that claims it should deeply troubling to the Russians because the site of the attack has been geolocated to near Novoazovsk, a town 100km deep in the separatist “Donetsk People’s Republic” and only 13km from the Russian border. A place controlled by Russia since 2014.

It means loitering drones are operating deep inside Russian controlled territory or that this was done by an IED using insurgency tactics. Either are scary scenarios for Russia as it shows their army is not safe even within what they might consider to be “safe” territory. They obviously thought it was safe enough to allow the Chinese TV crew to be filming.

What could go wrong?

You really went with Star Trek and not Terminator? either way the answer is you need real boots on the ground because drones can’t hold territory.

No I mean with the boots on the ground. To really hold territory you need boots on the ground, and tanks are used to support infantry who in turn support the tanks.

In that situation, would it offer value to have smaller unmanned tanks that the nearby soldiers control instead of bigger tanks where you need three or four people to ride in it?

Crap, this isn’t the tank thread. Sorry, my bad. Never mind. It was only idle wondering; no need to reply.

Sounds like a teletank from the 1930s.