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"Is the Tank Destroyer Concept Still Relevant Today?" Topic

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Personal logo Whirlwind Supporting Member of TMP27 Nov 2017 10:28 p.m. PST

Following on from this thread TMP link , do you think that the tank destroyer concept of an unarmoured or lightly armoured vehicle (whether a jeep with an ATGM or an attack helicopter) is still valid today? Given the generally greater increase in firepower over protection today is it even more valid (as all tanks are relatively more vulnerable)?

Jozis Tin Man28 Nov 2017 5:31 a.m. PST

I believe the answer is yes. TD type systems, weather mounted on vehicles or ground mount are MUCH cheaper than a tank and provide infantry of all flavors with a credible defense against armored vehicles.

The risk is the temptation to treat them like tanks. For example mounting a Javelin and 30mm cannon on the Stryker does not make it less vulnerable to direct fire.

Of course we are in an interesting period right now. Missile manufacturers are touting the lethality of their systems while the number and types of active protection systems for AFV's has proliferated. There is very little combat data on how this interaction works, and most I have seen is skewed one way or the other depending on what axe is being ground.

It is more than just reactive armor now, but interception systems to actively kill an incoming ATGM, a la Hammer's Slammers!

I do not know enough to really figure it out, but I bet we have some TMP members who can help, anyone?

Also don't forget the Russian SPUT towed anti-tank gun, which is basically a 125mm tank gun and fire control system on a towed chassis, perfectly capable of rapidly destroying IFVs and a threat to tanks, plus has a good HE round.

28mm Fanatik28 Nov 2017 7:53 a.m. PST

The Kanonenjagdpanzer was the last true TD unless we broaden the traditional definition to other dedicated tank killers ranging from light vehicles to helos.

Personal logo Whirlwind Supporting Member of TMP28 Nov 2017 8:49 a.m. PST

The Kanonenjagdpanzer was the last true TD unless we broaden the traditional definition to other dedicated tank killers ranging from light vehicles to helos.

I'm happy to broaden it. It is the concept I was on about.

Tgunner28 Nov 2017 8:49 a.m. PST

If a TD is a purpose built tank killer then yes, the TD is totally relevant in modern warfare. Heavy units with MBTs don't really need them (that's what the MBT does best!), but lighter units like light, motorized, and mechanized infantry need them.

For example, the US currently uses the M1134 Stryker ATGM vehicle to provide mobile anti-tank support for the Army's motorized infantry.


They are fast, carry the TOW ATGM, and are concentrated in a 9 vehicle company to support each brigade. That's not a lot, but it is a fast moving platform that can use the brigade's advanced C4ISR to reach threatened points in mass.

That sounds a lot like WWII TD unit to me.

Mardaddy Inactive Member28 Nov 2017 9:54 a.m. PST

USMC uses CAAT teams on HMMWV's armed with TOW's, organized at the Regimental Level.

As is the nature with all Marine deployed MEU's, they can task organize to go AT-heavy or AT-light as the mission parameters require.

Jozis Tin Man28 Nov 2017 11:17 a.m. PST

@tgunner, but how will they fair against new Russian active protection systems? Thoughts? Any opinion about mounting javelins on the Stryker icv?

Golgoloth Inactive Member28 Nov 2017 11:20 a.m. PST

Totally agree with Jotiz re. currently, it's pretty much an unproven field with the advent of true APS.

On a side note, I absolutely love the Stryker … looks dead Sci-Fi-esque :-)

SovietCanadian Inactive Member28 Nov 2017 12:29 p.m. PST

TDs definitely have a place on the battlefield.

My favourite has to be the 2S25 Sprut-SD. Armed with a 125mm cannon it has the firepower of Russian MBTs on a much lighter BMD chassis. It is amphibious, can be air-dropped, and can kill anything an MBT can without having to rely on ATGMs like most other TDs. It should also be much cheaper than any MBT.

Lion in the Stars28 Nov 2017 5:22 p.m. PST

Javelin is shorter-ranged than TOW2.

[edit] And of course the Tank Destroyer concept is still relevant today. Look at all the attack helicopters.

Tgunner02 Dec 2017 10:36 a.m. PST


The TOW's performance against modern Russian defenses is anyone's guess. I don't think anyone really knows what will work, at least not until someone tosses an ATGM at an active defense. I guess they have seen some use in the middle east in Syria, but not against US Javelins and TOW IIs. Also, US forces tend to fire missiles and rockets in volleys when they can. I wonder how effective the Trophy system would be against a volley of AT4 rockets.

I think the Stryker Dragoon is a done deal. They sent off 30mm and Javelin armed Strykers to the 2nd ACR to try them out earlier this year. They've tested the two variants and they seem to work well. I don't know if they will replace the basic Stryker or just serve with one or two per platoon to supplement the unit's firepower.

Doesn't matter too much though. Strykers have little business going up against tanks and motor rifles. They need mech battalions over there.

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP03 Dec 2017 2:57 p.m. PST

I always think the Attack helicopter is the truest equivalent of the TD.


Lion in the Stars03 Dec 2017 3:34 p.m. PST

@TGunner: Strykers are supposed to fill the "light" role for Armored BCTs. Delay an attacker while the Armor gets rolling, or hold areas taken by the Armor while the armor continues to advance.

They're also supposed to play the "heavy" role for the Infantry BCTs, playing fire brigade while the Infantry delays or being the attacker while the Infantry holds.

I'm amused that the US has basically reinvented the German WW2 operational concept, with Strykers taking the role of the Panzergrenadier division.

lincolnlog06 Dec 2017 11:51 p.m. PST

There was a version of the Stryker that was a TD, mounded a 105mm cannon. The M1128 Mobile Gun System was tested by 4/9th Infantry, 4th ID. Supposedly they are still in use in 3 vehicle platoons.

lincolnlog06 Dec 2017 11:59 p.m. PST

M1128 Mobile Gun System


lincolnlog07 Dec 2017 12:01 a.m. PST


soledad07 Dec 2017 7:08 a.m. PST

As long as it is treated for what it is, a, more or less, unarmoured vehicle with a tank gun. Used correctly it can perform well, but the second it is treated as an MBT they will be wiped out.

firing a round or two from a prepared position and then move (shoot and scoot) it can be a great assed. In more or less every other use i think it will fail.

Lion in the Stars07 Dec 2017 3:32 p.m. PST

@Lincolnlog: Problem is the gun turret is a nightmare. Friend of mine was a Stryker officer in Astan, his brigade had an entire company of engineers from GDLS and ARES Engineering, and the guys who designed and built the turret couldn't keep it working.

They're pulling the 3-truck MGS platoon from the Stryker company and putting a 10-truck company at the Brigade (going from 27 MGS to 10 per brigade).

Ferreo Cuore Inactive Member03 Jan 2018 9:21 p.m. PST

@ Lion
So if they go from 27 to 10 per brigade, how does the brigade make up the AT firepower? Are they doing more M1134 Stryker ATGM instead? Or is the theory to use more helos?

Jubilation T Cornpone04 Jan 2018 6:58 a.m. PST

It's certainly relevant if that is all you have!

Lion in the Stars04 Jan 2018 5:38 p.m. PST

@Ferreo: I haven't heard anything about increasing ATGMs.

Technically, those MGS were mostly there to provide direct-fire HE support to the grunts, the grunts pack lots of Javelins for AT work.

My idea for a next-get ICV steps the gun up to a 50mm Bushmaster III to have something with a decent HE round.

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