Not to hijack, but I have always felt that the police over reacted in the San Diego tank incident. IIRC, it was just a joy ride. No one was injured. I doubt it had ammunition, as it needs to be checked out from the quartermaster. A tear gas canister could have ended it. No need to kill the occupant.
In a previous life, I trained on the M60 tank. They don’t have AC. Gets pretty warm when all the hatches are closed. Weak point is the tracks. We were instructed to avoid exposing the tracks to enemy fire. A well placed explosive, if the local police had one, would have disabled the tank.
Even if the guy didn’t have ordinance, like the nut with the M60 didn’t, the police are going to be hard pressed to stop it (again, just as they were in that case). There are pieces of heavy construction equipment that could block it, but it would be impossible to get them there in an organized fashion or quickly enough. What the police did in the above case is really about the only option: Evacuate the area as best as possible, then follow him and wait for either it to run out of gas or, as he did, get stuck. If you watch the video you’ll see that when he tried to cross that concrete barrier he did in fact knock one of the treads off. There’s no weaponry or equipment I can think of that police have that would be effective.
Also, if you watch the video of that guy you can tell that although he had clearly ‘lost it’ he wasn’t too keen on killing as many people as possible. Most of the time he only destroys property, and even seems to (mostly) avoid people. Story I always heard was he was heading for an ex-girlfriend’s house.
However, if he had been bent on a killing rampage, or worse was able to fire ordinance, I would imagine that along with evacuating the police would inevitably had to have asked for military assistance to stop him. I recall from a previous thread here on this subject that any such authorization must in fact come directly from the President! Once that was given, it would have been too hard for the military to merely disable one tank in that setting. They probably wouldn’t even need an attack helicopter, just a truck with some soldiers with some personal anti-tank weapons like an RPG.
Well, no. Even with what I said above it would have been hard for any police force to “over react” to a genuine rouge military tank on the loose. And it was not ‘just a joy ride’ either. Like I said even though his heart wasn’t exactly into mass killing it was still a lot of luck that no one was killed. Just going from memory he flatted a parked motor home that could have easily been occupied. And the police did ultimately show restraint. When an officer finally got on top and got the hatch open he pointed his pistol at the driver and yelled to surrender several times. The driver even looked up at him and just looked back down, ignoring him. The cop then shot him twice. Personally, I would have just emptied my magazine the moment I got the hatch open!
You steal a tank in any civilian situation, regardless of what you may actually have in mind, you’re demonstrating wanton disregard for human life and deadly force is an instant no-brainer…
I have no expertise, but I’m sure there are plans for dealing with the presence of hostile, armed, and fully staffed military tanks on U.S. soil and these plans probably don’t rely on local police to serve as the first line of defense.
As with matters of opinion and “what-if”, you’re certainly entitled to think that. However: the perpetrator never showed any attempts to avoid casualties, and was in the process of crossing the divided freeway to attack oncoming traffic, which would almost certainly have resulted in dead or injured innocent victims. And incapacitating the perpetrator with the vehicle in movement (for instance, if it had gotten free of the divider) would mean it would run unattended with no real way of boarding it and bringing it under control in time to prevent further damage. (Tear gas? You expect someone to board a moving vehicle full of tear gas and work around the driver still in the seat to stop the tank, with no protective gear?)
The guy was enraged and suicidal. It was simply miraculous that he was the only guy he hurt.
I’ve qualified on the M60A3 and the M1 - both a Dino Rider and a Jedi Tanker. I watched the CA rampage on CNN at breakfast while attending NET (New Equipment Training) for the M1. We made some changes to how we stored the M60A3 still at the armory when we got home. It would have required more time, tools, and knowledge once you got inside to start it. That’s the best control, prevent it from starting.
Looking at some of the ideas so far:
Loach hits one big point with the external fire extinguisher handle. Don’t consider it 100% that the turbine can’t be restarted later even though you’re not supposed to operate it till maintenance has checked it after discharge. If it’s fully armed, crewed and equipped you better not have anything near where you stop them that you are emotionally attached to.
Hatches: Aside from the TC’s hatch on the M1 the only way to keep a hatch closed is to lock it in a way that prevents opening it from outside (aside from a padlock that goes on the outside of the loaders hatch for when you are storing it and want it secured with nobody in it:D) The M1 series TC’s hatch locks in a couple positions but both handles to manipulate it are inside. Simple rule, if it’s not open or flopping you aren’t opening it unless you see the padlock. Good luck trying to cut the lock if it’s moving.
Explosives - Hollywood overstates the case of explosives. One of my Platoon long ago was a Desert Storm vet. His unit with M1A1s came upon an Anti-Personnel minefield that has been exposed by shifting sands. They didn’t have Engineer support available in timely fashion so they drove through it popping mines as they went. The most severe damage they took was some scorch marks to the bottom of their hull. That’s with an explosion tamped between dirt and the track. AT mines are quite a bit bigger and tamped when detonated by pressure fusing. With enough explosive you can brute force anything without tamping. A Saving Private Ryan sticky bomb… don’t count on it.
AT Weapons - Something guided with top attack and a warhead at least the size of a Javelin gives a good shot if you get military support quickly. Light AT weapons like the Garl Gustav, LAW, RPG can penetrate side and rear. From the front the Abrams can reliably shrug off most heavier ATGMs. A simple penetration from light AT systems doesn’t necessarily stop it or kill it though. If it’s just the driver, he’s in the best protected position. Unless there’s some other reason to constrain the movement, flank shots with an unguided weapon against a quickly moving vehicle can be a challenge. The best result probably would be triggering the automatic fire suppression system to make them suck extinguisher or getting an engine compartment shot. To reliably do it get a bunch of them and get trained infantrymen to do it. A 60 -70 ton fire breathing dragon can produce a freeze and/or stupid decision delay unless you’ve been exposed to it before. Been there, done that, giggled at the :eek: from “crunchies” as I drove away. With a well trained full up crew that can “breathe fire” in that pause even prime infantry terrain isn’t necessarily enough for low morale/inadequately trained infantry. The mounted raids of Baghdad, dubbed Thunder Runs, are an example of doing just that.
Crane/electromagnet. I doubt there’s one that can handle the weight of an Abrams turret. The turret is 24+ tons for any variant in service. I never had to remove a turret. I can say I’ve seen the results of a rollover and they don’t just fall off so more lift would be needed than just the turret weight to brute force it. I see tumbled crane if they tried it.
Digging. If there was reason to know where they were going and time before they got there, it could help limit or divert them. You aren’t digging it with shovels if the notice to start digging is the tank rampage starting. There’s not a lot of time to create much of an Anti-tank trench though.
Some options to impede the tank:
Target vision blocks with small arms to impair and eventually blind the driver. They’re small moving targets and they can be swapped quickly from inside with a short stop. When ALL the vision blocks on the tank have been damaged beyond effectively seeing the driver might stop permanently. Or he might just keep driving until he screws up and stops himself. You’re half blind in there anyway.
Create obstacles that can cause the tank to high center if they drive on to it and hope the driver does. Think the WWII dragon’s teeth although there’s quicker options to improvise.
Sucker them into driving in to a building with a basement or multiple stories. Fall in to the basement or cover it in enough debris and it’s stopped.
Cover the area they are in with riot control agents and hope they don’t know how to use the overpressure system and/or have stolen a mask along with the tank. All locked up and there still won’t be much leakage though.
Target air intake. The turbine on the Abrams gulps air and fuel in huge quantities.
Use explosives to construct an abatis along a road through forested areas. Takes a good amount of explosives and probably a current/former combat engineer to set it up right. Of course they could then just divert before the abatis and drive through the rest of the forest. That would be slower though.
If you are religious, pray.
I’ve intentionally left off some details on both how to and how to counter some of the moves available to police. Police forces are woefully under-equipped to handle even just a driver in a main battle tank. They aren’t trained or equipped remotely like an Infantry squad for a mechanized fight.
No (a not uncommon tactic in Korea and Vietnam when being overrun but infantry was to button up and have another tank “scratch your back” with 30 caliber rounds)
Maybe if you hit just right and often enough
40mm HEDP and hit right on the track possibly (it would be a hell of a shot though)
Just thrown, no. Under the track probably like the AP mines, no
Yes the guy in the M60 was escalating the situation. He started off just tooling around. Then he started taking out parked cars. When he got on the highway he tried to take out a bridge abutment to knock it down regardless of who might be on it. Finally he attempted to drive into oncoming traffic but got hung up on the divider. He was actively trying to drive off the divider into traffic when he was ordered to stop. He did not. The shooting was justified to protect the lives of those on the highway.
The 19E answer at the time was that the police were wrong but it was reasonable. He wasn’t going anywhere significant in that condition and position no matter what he tried. The gun was in travel lock and not moving (accessed from and clearly visible on the back deck.) There was no reason for the police to know their assumptions were wrong though and there was no time to find out.