What would stop a tank?

Or even a muddy enough field after a good rain. I remember in the early 90s at Fort Bragg watching a unit try to free a tank that got stuck cutting through a construction site. I never saw them get it out but watched at least 2 hours of trying.

Mud does seem to present a problem for tanks.

Oh he was trying… his odds of presenting even a slow motion, completely unable to steer threat at that point were somewhere between slim and none. It’s why I call it a reasonable decision with what they could be expected to know.

Spot on on it being automatic only for the crew compartment. It wasn’t just a heat sensor though. ISTR it being a three component sensor to help screen out false positives based on any one component. I remember heat, and visible light as two of the things it checked. I believe CO2 was the third. ISTR it having different trigger points based on the profiles of different threats. It worked pretty well, On the M60A3 I had a heat only sensor pop the extinguisher based on the heater.

Besides the pull handle the engine compartment had an extinguisher bottle that fired automatically based on sensors. The driver had a control to fire the second bottle from his position. I think two bottles was it and the handle was simply an alternate method of firing the second but the end of my career was a story of non tanking positions. Too much has been mentally zeroed out. A tanker given an option will always do something mounted and only use things on the ground if they have the misfortune to be dismounted at the time. :stuck_out_tongue:

It’s the nature of the ground underneath not simply depth of mud. Group pressure per square inch on even an almost 70 ton tank is lower than it is for an armored HMMWV. You can also push through a lot of mud. It’s possible to literally scoop mud and water with the front slope in a a giant wave over the entire tank. The problem is no matter how well distributed the weight is the ground still needs to support it. Relatively deep mud on top of a good base isn’t bad. Mud without a good solid base and you keep sinking (like in a swamp.) If you have enough base to not keep sinking it can still be too slick and soft to get enough push once the hull has good suction in the mud or if you have to climb out of the mud at too steep an angle.

Mud also presents another issues that some of the images in your search make me think are possible in those cases. Tanks don’t like driving across slopes when it’s dry. It produces a sideways force on the tracks. Try it when things are slick and you slide sideways… not good. The only time I personally threw track that couldn’t just be walked back on was a driver that tried to divert around the worst of the mudpuddle. Unfortunately that meant driving across the slope on the side. We slid sideways a couple feet down in to the mud shedding the entire left track to the inside. The depth of mud itself wasn’t a problem; everybody else drove right through. Not driving smart through the mud was an issue. Some of the pictures look like either they threw track or have enough sideways pressure from a slope that they stopped when the track started “popping” in warning.

Can the air intakes be plugged up? Maybe figure out a way to dump a ton of small styrofoam pellets or something on the air intakes so the engine would go out and the person could not breathe.

They’re not going to fall for the old banana in the tailpipe, that’s for sure.

Halon? I’d think that would be fatal to the crew. Do they have some kind of oxygen masks available like airliners?

Yes. Plus NBC protection, which is obviously going to require breathing apparatus for the crew.

I don’t see how RPGs would stop him- he’s definitely afk :slight_smile:
But (semi) seriously, wasn’t there a crappy movie with James Garner called Tank, wherein he entered a tank through a hatch in the floor? Real tanks don’t have those, do they?

Halons are not as bad as you might think, at least compared the alternatives. Unlike CO2 extinguishing systems, they don’t put out a fire by displacing oxygen, so you don’t need to use dangerously high concentrations.

Absent a mechanical failure of one of the track links, how does a track get thrown? Doesn’t it have central spines that ride in grooves on the wheels, preventing it from walking off? Is it installed with a whole lot of slack? Does this mean that tanks don’t like taking high-g turns on level ground (which would induce high lateral loads)?

No. The NBC protection is to over pressurize the crew compartment. Just enough to keep the airflow from inside to outside. Gas masks and the NBC system were not designed for and are not protection from the fire suppression system. There is no separate air supply in the tank.

The normal procedure for when the halon system goes off is to get the fuck out. Which makes sense since anything that would cause it to go off would require you to get the fuck out unless you were dead already. Sure it’s dangerous but you have to take into consideration the catastrophic circumstances they are trying to mitigate.

Pelt the tank with dirty molotovs and sticky smoke canisters so the tank has no visibility. If the tank goes fast it will crash into something and be wrecked.

They were working on replacing it with another agent for environmental reasons across the Army. The Abrams crew compartment was one of the trickier bits to ID a replacement for. The handheld halon extinguisher for in the crew compartment on the M1 wasn’t replaced when other handheld halon extinguishers were. Not sure if they ever managed to come up with a good option. The amount released in the crew compartment did allow some oxygen for the expensive, hard to replace, squishy bits . The told us getting out was good but you could wait around if you really needed to because the outside was worse.

Halon not good. Fire bad…very, very bad. You have four people in a metal box packed with flammables. 3 have to get out through two holes in the roof. The fourth has his own hole that may be impossible to get out of unless someone in the turret takes action before dismounting. Dealing with fire is a much bigger concern than any risk from the halon.

No. There are no separate oxygen masks but there’s sort of a replacement. Using it that way was not part of the doctrinal react to fire drill, though. The chemical protective masks don’t filter out the halon. They also don’t do much for nasty flatulence. :smiley: The tanker mask does have an attachment that you can plug a hose in to, with a hose at every crew station. That hose provides air brought in through a filter from outside through a vehicle mounted filtration system. That air is also how they provide positive pressure although not through the hoses. That would give you outside air right in to your mask. The tank also has a powerful exhaust fan to clear fumes from firing that you could use to clear the turret if the fire was out and inside the screwed up tank was still safer. All of that assumes those systems are still functioning after the damage that likely came with or caused the fire. Mostly it’s a matter of going through the drill and getting everyone out and safe.

The M1 series does not. The M60 series did. It was common in US tanks before the Abrams.

There are center guides that help keep it in line. They can break or get pushed out of line. The are also “end connectors” that hold the separate links together are on the edges and engage the teeth on the sprockets that provide power at the rear on both M60 and M1 series. The track is installed relatively slack and then track tension is adjusted by pumping grease in to the compensating idler arm. It takes regular checks to make sure everything is right especially as the track gets worn towards the end of it’s life.

The effect of turning lateral pressure varies with the ground. As you turn the track pushes laterally against the surface. Something hard like pavement it slides (mostly). If you are digging in and pushing up a berm from the soil (aka a tank turd) that’s something else to resist the track. IME lower speeds are more of an issue because you aren’t throwing stuff out of the way and are more likely to be turning as tight as possible. At those speeds a good driver can usually recover as the center guides and end connectors pop audibly for not lining up right. Keeping everything maintained helps keep the track on and then forcing their way in to place. As it wears it becomes more of a challenge though.

I once had a crew that didn’t check track tension when they should have, turned tightly in loose sand, and the driver kept turning despite hearing the “popping noise.” Guess what happened? :wink:

I was living in San Diego at the time and loved that story.

In the spirit of the OP, tankers, would a brave aka suicidal individual be able to disable the tracks by throwing something like rebar rods between the road wheels and track? Obviously, they would have to do this while the tank was stopped, but once you have said hypothetical tank stopped the LEOs could then bombard it with tear gas or smoke the crew out, assuming they don’t have air packs stowed on board. Not sure how you would deal with the pointy bits, if the crew was competent enough to use them…

It would require a brave individual, but not ‘suicidal’. Beyond the initial, incredibly slow, hulking ‘land battleship’ tanks of WWI a fundamental concept of tank warfare is that individual tanks **DO NOT **venture out on their own (regardless of countless movies portraying this). This makes them incredibly vulnerable. They not only need the support of other tanks but also air cover and accurate command & control in order to be used successfully.

It’s an interesting idea. The suspension flexes the road wheels anyway and pressure is still being put on the track underneath. For most of the length of the track I can’t imagine any serious side effect. If you managed to get it just right and it got carried towards the sprocket though…

You can actually use a spare track block between track and sprocket to walk a track that’s only a little misaligned back in to place so the rebar thickness isn’t the question. If you could get the rebar to walk about to the sprocket though it’s likely going to be hitting the hull too. That will produce a decidely non-straight chunk of rebar being fed up to the sprocket with pressure being applied to the end scraping the hull. That plus turning at the same time might just be enough. It’ll get dropped once through the sprocket if it doesn’t. I’d bet it’s less likely to be balanced enough once dropped that way to get carried back up to the sprocket a second time.

It does raise one option I left off. Lots and lots of concertina wire. If you are smart enough to drive straight across it the odds of snagging are relatively low; snagging is more of a risk if you turn while crossing it. If you do get it snagged it can start building up on the sprocket. Enough build up and you can have issues with track retention. Stay away from the tank driving around with a tail of concertina whipping around during the process though.

I feel people are underestimating a one man crewed tank. Sure, it will fire slower, but he could rotate turret and crawl in in less than 30 seconds. Fire a round every 10-15 seconds. Is that not good enough? What is he facing that one round every 15 seconds couldn’t destroy?

I suppose one man sealed in a tank could repeatedly load, aim, and fire the gun. He couldn’t operate the turret AND drive the tank. Or he could drive the tank, but not operate the turret. Between reloading the gun and jumping into the gunner’s position, he’s really not going to have much time to look around to see what’s out there to shoot. And the sight he’s looking through isn’t going to give him any view of what’s behind the turret.

I suppose the quickest and most effective response to a rogue tank stolen from a military base is a military helicopter armed with the appropriate AT weaponry.