Who's on top?




 
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March 3rd, 2018  
oz codger
 
 

Topic: Who's on top?


A question for the more expert than me.

In the arena of tank and anti-tank, who has the ascendancy? (currently and historically) I have the feeling that anti tank does but my knowledge is limited and my late brother, a 'Centurion' commander of a troop of 3 tanks, would never accept my opinion.
March 5th, 2018  
MontyB
 
 
Your brother would have a good point as I can not think of a single battle where an armoured thrust was ever stopped by anti-tank weapons alone.

One exception would have been Operation Lüttich which saw a German offensive effectively stopped by anti-armour although they were mainly APC's stopped by airpower, another may be the Yom Kippur War and the Egyptian recapture of the Sinai which employed the efficient use of anti-armour protected by significant anti-air elements.

Essentially I think anti-armour weapons are more effective these days but could not be relied on to stop a large mass of armour so at this stage I would put my money on the tank as long as it had adequate air support.
March 5th, 2018  
I3BrigPvSk
 
 
I served in an anti-tank unit and I will say it depends on the terrain. There are terrains not suited for armor units. In the woods, the mountainous terrain, and in urban areas. The armor units can face some difficulties in terrains like that. Especially if they operate without infantry support, but they rarely do. Modern MBT's have excellent detection capabilities and can reach out and touch the enemy in distances beyond the reach of the majority of anti-tank weapon. If the tank is not hindered by the terrain, it will probably be able to defeat the infantry's anti-tank units, or at least making the life hard for the infantry.

There is one military offensive that might can be used as a reference for when anti-tank units were effective against armor forces. I am thinking about the armed conflict between Hezbollah and the Israelis in 2006. The Israelis deployed tank units into southern Lebanon. The terrain in southern L isn't suited for armored warfare and the H capitalized on that
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March 5th, 2018  
oz codger
 
 
Thank you for the responses, and I realize that comparing a 2018 anti-tank with a 1980 tank is unfair and confusing.

But I wonder just how it is with say a T14 or T90 against the latest 'Javelin or RPG29 etc. Like wise a M1A2 against the latest anti-tank.

OC
March 5th, 2018  
I3BrigPvSk
 
 
It depends on where the tanks you mentioned are hit. The Javelin hits the top of the tank where it has weak armor so it will probably be out of action. Modern MBT's may also save the crew even if the tank itself is out. If the anti-tank munition hits the ammunition on board the tank, the crew will probably not survive the hit. The Abrams tank tries to direct the effect from a hit to its storage compartment away from the crew, so they might survive even if the tank doesn't.

There are active protection systems on some of the tanks today, the Israelis call their system Trophy and the Russians call their system Arena. I am some what skeptical toward those systems. The Israelis have lost tanks in Gaza to old RPG7 and the Russians have lost tanks in Georgia and Ukraine. Another weak points of tanks are the engine and the tracks. Any damage to those will immobilize the tank and a tank that doesn't move is in grave danger for a second hit.

Tanks work pretty well in an open terrain where they can use their detection systems and engaging the enemy on distances suited for the tanks, and when the tanks don't need to rely on roads for their own movements. Their supply lines usually need roads

Tanks always work with other units and preferably with protection of their own air force. The anti-tank units main purpose is to slow down the enemy's tank units and the anti tank units cannot really attack, but the anti-tank units can provide with fire support to those units attacking the enemy
March 6th, 2018  
oz codger
 
 
Thanks,

"weak points of tanks are the engine and the tracks. Any damage to those will immobilize the tank and a tank that doesn't move is in grave danger for a second hit."

Which prompts yet another question, in a tank (M.4)? vs tank (Panzer.6.)? battle is there a doctrine of disabling the tank via tracks or engine, thus making him a stationary target? I believe that it was said that it took 6 US/Russian tanks to knock out a 'Tiger'.

OC
March 6th, 2018  
I3BrigPvSk
 
 
The weakest points of any tank are the rear, the sides, and the top while the thickest armor is in the front. The Allied armor forces tried hit the Panzer 6 at the rear or the sides. The Allied/Russian tank units were forced to get close and preferably behind the German tanks. That was rather dangerous and the allied forces took casualties on the way in.

It is much easier to hit the chassis of tanks than trying to hit their tracks, especially when the tanks are moving and when they are between several hundred meters or even a km or more from your own position. If the opponents tank units can be channeled into a limited area, anti-tank mines can be used with pretty good efficiency. The mines will destroy the leading tanks tracks, creating decent road blocks and the anti tank units can engage the remaining tanks, IFV's and other units. The terrain that can allow a direct approach toward the tracks is the the urban terrain, but still better to kill the tank with hitting the chassis or the turret. A tank with its tracks damaged can still fire its main gun, machine guns, and communicate with other units. What we did to avoid casualties was to always move after the first round fired, regardless if we operated from our vehicles armed with an anti-tank gun or with the Carl Gustav anti tank weapon. I preferred the first option, much easier to regroup with a vehicle than with a CG, which meant running from fire position to fire position. The CG weights about 13 kilograms, and every fire team was forced to carry the ammunition for it, our personal weapons and our personal equipment

Interesting your brother (I am sorry for the loss of your brother) was a commander of a troop of Centurion tanks. I have had Centurion tanks in my sights a few times. The Swedish army also had Centurion tanks in the mid 1980s.
March 7th, 2018  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oz codger
Thanks,

"weak points of tanks are the engine and the tracks. Any damage to those will immobilize the tank and a tank that doesn't move is in grave danger for a second hit."

Which prompts yet another question, in a tank (M.4)? vs tank (Panzer.6.)? battle is there a doctrine of disabling the tank via tracks or engine, thus making him a stationary target? I believe that it was said that it took 6 US/Russian tanks to knock out a 'Tiger'.

OC
I cant give you the Western tank thinking against German armour but I do have some information on Russian thinking...


Quote:
The following report is a literal translation of a portion of a Russian publication concerning the most effective methods of fire against German tanks.

For the successful conduct of fire against enemy tanks, we should proceed as follows:
a. Manner of Conducting Fire for the Destruction of Enemy Tanks
(1) While conducting fire against enemy tanks, and while maneuvering on the battlefield, our tanks should seek cover in partially defiladed positions.
(2) In order to decrease the angle of impact of enemy shells, thereby decreasing their power of penetration, we should try to place our tanks at an angle to the enemy.
(3) In conducting fire against German tanks, we should carefully observe the results of hits, and continue to fire until we see definite signs of a hit (burning tanks, crew leaving the tank, shattering of the tank or the turret). Watch constantly enemy tanks which do not show these signs, even though they show no signs of life. While firing at the active tanks of the enemy, one should be in full readiness to renew the battle against those apparently knocked out.
b. Basic Types of German Tanks and their Most Vulnerable Parts
The types of tanks most extensively used in the German Army are the following: the 11-ton Czech tank, the Mark III, and the Mark IV. The German self-propelled assault gun (Sturmgeschütz) has also been extensively used.

In addition to the above-mentioned types of tanks, the German Army uses tanks of all the occupied countries; in their general tactical and technical characteristics, their armament and armor, these tanks are inferior.
(1) Against the 11-ton Czech tank, fire as follows:




(a) From the front--against the turret and gun-shield, and below the turret gear case;
(b) From the side--at the third and fourth bogies, against the driving sprocket, and at the gear case under the turret;
© From behind--against the circular opening and against the exhaust vent.
Remarks: In frontal fire, with armor-piercing shells, the armor of the turret may be destroyed more quickly than the front part of the hull. In firing at the side and rear, the plates of the hull are penetrated more readily than the plates of the turret.


(2) Against Mark III tanks, fire as follows:



(a) From the front--at the gun mantlet and at the driver's port, and the machine-gun mounting;
(b) From the side--against the armor protecting the engine, and against the turret ports;
© From behind--directly beneath the turret, and at the exhaust vent.
Remark: In firing from the front against the Mark III tank, the turret is more vulnerable than the front of the hull and the turret gear box. In firing from behind, the turret is also more vulnerable than the rear of the hull.


(3) Against the self-propelled assault gun, fire as follows:



(a) From the front--against the front of the hull, the drivers port, and below the tube of the gun;
(b) From the side--against the armor protecting the engine, and the turret.
© From behind--against the exhaust vent and directly beneath the turret.


(4) Against the Mark IV, fire as follows:



(a) From the front--against the turret, under the tube of the gun, against the driver's port, and the machine-gun mounting;
(b) From the side--at the center of the hull at the engine compartment, and against the turret port.
© From behind--against the turret, and against the exhaust vent.
Remarks: It should be noted that in firing against the front of this tank, the armor of the turret is more vulnerable than the front plate of the turret gear box, and of the hull. In firing at the sides of the tank, the armor plate of the engine compartment and of the turret, is more vulnerable than the armor of the turret gear box.
They also produced a report on the Tiger 1 (Panzer 6)

http://lonesentry.com/articles/ttt_t...ity/index.html
March 9th, 2018  
oz codger
 
 
Fascinating, thank you.

OC
March 9th, 2018  
oz codger
 
 
Sorry fellas, another couple,

does a disabled engine cut the power supply to turn the turret to engage a target?

And in the case of a 'Mekava', the turret has a big gap from the outer edge down to the hull surface, can a HE round in that gap dislodge the turret? Indeed in any tank for that matter?

Monty's last post has the commander aiming for the drivers port, such a small point to aim at from a kilometre or more! I am amazed at just how many factors a commander has to keep in mind.
 


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